By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
For some Upper Ohio homes, they are still living in the dark despite a lengthy battle for power.
20 of Upper Ohio year-round homes and cottages have been fighting to get the basic service most home-owners take for granted. “(They) are still waiting for a service that other Nova Scotians have been taking for granted for a century,” said Shelburne MLA Sterling Belliveau.
Finally after Belliveau rallied on resident’s behalf, Nova Scotia Power was prepared to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to extend power to the Upper Ohio residents.
The only thing that needed to be done is for the residents to first obtain a clear right-of-way on land along the roadside that was owned by the Department of Natural Resources, before hydro poles could be erected. But that right-of-way would only be given at a charge of $11,200 plus HST for easement. “I don’t think this charge is appropriate,” said area councilor, Terry MacIntyre. “The nine full-time residents are only asking for essential services to an established community.”
Belliveau asked the Minister of Natural Resources, David Morse, when he will stop blocking electrical services to the residents of Upper Ohio earlier this month but has still not received a response.
Jennifer Gavin a communications officer with the Department of Natural Resources says the status for the issue has not changed. “This is a standard fee that is always used when their needs to be right-of-way access for utilities,” she said.
She added that the department has included stumpage fees, where residents can sell the wood for profit to help in subsidizing the costs.
But MacIntyre said the residents are not happy with this decision. “Nova Scotia Power was supposed to have started already,” he said, frustrated that natural resources was holding up these crucial services. “This is the most progress that we have made in eight years and there is still a lot to do.”
He said the longer the area stays without power the less chance the community will have to grow. “I know they chose to live there,” he said, “but those are essential services and they all pay their taxes.”
By Amy Woolvett
Geographic location: Upper OhioTop of page