The following is a statement from City of Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee in response to the discussions regarding the Water Act that took place in the PEI Legislative Assembly in December:
"I am disappointed with the lack of support the City of Charlottetown has from the two opposition parties and one government MLA during the recent discussions of the Water Act. Much of the discussion centred around the City of Charlottetown and its water usage.
Mr. Steven Myers, the MLA for District 2 (Georgetown-St. Peters), asked what the recourse is for someone who lives in the area where the City draws water who doesn’t want it drawn from that area. Does Mr. Myers really believe that punishing the 37,000 people in the City of Charlottetown is the right thing to do in this scenario where one person is fearful of the water being drawn from the water table in their area? Does Mr. Myers not understand or appreciate the fact that Charlottetown is also part of Prince Edward Island and the people who live and work here must also have access to water?
I get the impression that beating up on Charlottetown is good politics for someone from Georgetown, but it doesn’t play well in this City. But then again, I suppose that’s a problem for Mr. James Aylward to deal with because maybe the Progressive Conservatives have written off Charlottetown as an area they would like to represent.
Green Party members, Ms. Hannah Bell and Mr. Peter Bevan-Baker, also spoke about this and appear to give no credit to the City of Charlottetown for our conservation efforts. The reality is, in 2017, the City of Charlottetown is drawing water at an extraction rate equal to what was being drawn back in 2000. When you consider the population growth in Charlottetown over the past 17 years, obviously the City is doing something right.
It’s absurd that Ms. Bell would suggest the outlying communities are carrying a risk for the benefit of Charlottetown. Even she questions what compensation is going to be provided to other municipalities in the areas where water is drawn. Mr. Bevan-Baker states that Charlottetown can’t sit back and allow the "overuse" of the water system to continue indefinitely.
We’ve taken great steps to reduce our extraction levels and we’ve created a new wellfield so that we are not drawing all of our water from the Winter River Watershed. I find it amazing that these MLAs really know very little about the recent history of water conservation and investments in water supply in the City of Charlottetown.
Not to be outdone, Charlottetown MLA Bush Dumville seems to believe that another municipality should be financially compensated by the City of Charlottetown for the water that it draws. For such an experienced MLA to make such a statement is unbelievable. He needs to think about the people he represents in the legislature rather than simply jumping on the band wagon.
All three political parties missed the boat in recognizing the tremendous gains and improvements the City of Charlottetown has accomplished over the past number of years. We have been able to work with the Federal Government and the current Provincial Government to create a new wellfield and water supply access. We have worked together to improve stormwater systems, and we have created and executed a very successful water conservation program.
I look forward to continuing to work with this government to make further improvements, but for elected MLAs to beat up the City of Charlottetown because it is a popular sport is irresponsible and inappropriate. Perhaps these MLAs should consider attempting to work with the City of Charlottetown as opposed to working against the Capital City… a City that is made up of the 37,000 people who call Charlottetown home."
- Mayor Clifford Lee