Restaurant holds back provincial water test

A tourist operator in Cavendish purposely didn't submit water samples for testing to the P.E.I. Environment Department to protest the government's new submit-your-own sampling policy.
The owner of Shining Waters Fun park is refusing to submit a water sample to government for testing for the food services at his amusement park. (Shining Waters Fun Park)

A tourist operator in Cavendish purposely didn't submit water samples for testing to the P.E.I. Environment Department to protest the government's new submit-your-own sampling policy.

In June restaurants were told they had to collect their own water samples and bring them to the Environment Department, instead of provincial inspectors taking water samples. The province also added a $35 fee.

Matthew Jelley, owner of Sandspit and Shining Waters Fun Park, did not submit samples. He received warnings from the department for failing to get water tests done. Jelley said he's not against the fee. However, he believes only qualified inspectors should do the tests, not untrained restaurant owners. He calls it a step backwards, and worries about the public's safety.

"The overwhelming majority of operators would complete the test in a perfectly legitimate and honest manner," said Jelley.

"But the ones who are pushed to the wall, or the ones who that have the financial situation where they can't adequately maintain their properties and that, may be the ones that there is a higher risk and they may be the very ones that are most likely to maybe not follow the rules as closely."

 After receiving the warnings, Jelley did submit the samples. But because inspectors issued the warnings so late in the summer, by the time he did receive the water test results, his restaurants were already closed for the season. The P.E.I. Restaurant Association has also criticized the province's decision to make owners do the testing. A spokesperson for the government said hotel, motel and cottage owners have been collecting their own water samples for a decade without any problems.

Six other restaurants received warnings this summer for failing to get their water tested: New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, St Ann's Lobster Suppers, the Dunes in Brackley, DJ's Dairy Bar in St Peter's, as well the Seaweed Pie Cafe and Deagle's General Store in Miminegash.