Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says he was amazed to hear about plans to expand his city's sewer system on the news earlier this week.


Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says the city has no interest in expanding its sewer system until its own problems are fixed (CBC)

On Tuesday night residents of a mobile home subdivision in Miltonvale Park discussed plans to hook their community's sewer to Charlottetown's. The current sewer system in the community has been declared an environmental hazard by the province.

"I was amazed," Lee told CBC News Thursday.

"I was sitting there shaking my head, going I can't believe what I'm hearing here."

The Miltonvale Park residents were told, if they voted to move ahead, work could begin in a couple of weeks. The project would cost three levels of government $2.1 million, and significantly add to water and sewer fees for residents.

But Lee said adding Miltonvale Park to the capital's sewer system is not on the city's list of priorities.

Charlottetown has a major sewer problem of its own. A large portion of the city's sanitary and storm sewer systems are combined into one. During heavy rains the sewer treatment facility overflows, dumping raw sewage into the harbour.

The two systems need to be fully separated. The project would cost an estimated $24 million.

"We've asked [the province] to come on side and assist the city with dealing with that problem," said Lee.

"Until that question is answered, I'm not even interested in talking to Miltonvale Park or any other community about being their supplier of sewer services. It makes absolutely no sense."

Out of 'left field'

Bush Dumville, MLA for the Miltonvale Park area, says he is mystified to hear Lee's response.


Now is not the time for Charlottetown to be pushing its sewer project, says MLA Bush Dumville. (CBC)

"I just don't know where this has come from," said Dumville.

"It just seems to have come from left field."

Dumville said negotiations with the city have been going on for months, but he admited they only have a tentative agreement and nothing has been signed.

The sewer project faces a deadline, said Dumville, because stimulus money from the federal government dries up next year.

"Time is valuable. This is a lot of money. This is a very serious project," he said.

"I know the mayor has issues in regards to wanting to get his sewer upgraded because of the overflow that's occurring in heavy rains, but this is just not the time to do it."

Residents are still expected to vote on the sewer proposal on Monday. But even if they vote yes, Lee said he'll say no, and that could mean the whole project goes down the drain.