Nova Scotia

Inverness County hires military man to take charge of fixing water woes

A commander with the Canadian Naval Reserve has been hired to fix the aging water system in Inverness County, N.S.

'We needed someone who had a broad-based experience in project management,' says Inverness County CAO

Cmdr. David A. Coulombe will direct the new department of infrastructure and emergency services for the Municipality of the County of Inverness. (Submitted by the Municipality of the County of Inverness)

A commander with the Canadian Naval Reserve is changing tack when he takes on the job of fixing the aging water system in Inverness County, N.S.

The municipality hired Cmdr. David A. Coulombe to integrate the municipality's emergency services, facility management, operations, maintenance and recycling services. These duties will fall under a new department known as infrastructure and emergency services, which replaces the public works department.

"Certainly, his military background will be helpful with the municipality in terms of, chain of command, identifying operational procedures and being very detailed in our work," said Keith MacDonald, chief administrative officer of the Municipality of the County of Inverness.

Coulombe will lead the charge in addressing deficiencies in water and wastewater systems, which are expected to cost $103 million to fix.

"That's a significant undertaking, so we needed someone who had a broad-based experience in project management," said MacDonald. "We are confident he can bring that to the table."

Inverness infrastructure issues

Inverness County is developing a long-term plan to deal with its infrastructure problems, including water main breaks in Port Hood and low well production in Inverness village.

Residents were asked to conserve water earlier this summer in Port Hood, and new development projects in the area, such as Route 19 Brewing, are causing a significant increase in demand.

Coulombe is a special projects officer with experience managing budgets of more than $20 million a year.

He's currently in Japan serving as a Canadian task force commander for Operation Neon, advising the United Nations Security Council on sanctions imposed against North Korea. Coulombe has a family connection to the area — his wife, Heather, is a co-owner of the Farmer's Daughter Country Market in Whycocomagh, N.S.

Coulombe will begin his new job in October.

About the Author

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith was born and raised in Cape Breton. She began her career in private radio in Sydney and has been with CBC as a reporter, early morning news editor and sometimes host since 1990.

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