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West Hants staff to pen letter to owner of Windsor and Hantsport Railway

Residents fear far more tidal water is flowing into the Halfway River now that the aboiteau system was damaged and erosion occurred. This submitted photo shows what it looked like in late fall, early winter.
Residents fear far more tidal water is flowing into the Halfway River now that the aboiteau system was damaged and erosion occurred. This submitted photo shows what it looked like in late fall, early winter. - Submitted

HANTSPORT, N.S. — West Hants councillors are looking to express their concerns over the deteriorating condition of the Hantsport aboiteau directly to its owner.

Three provincial employees of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal — Barbara Baillie (executive director of highway maintenance and operations), Paul Lefleche (director) and Mark Peachey (district director) — attended an in camera meeting Jan. 23 with West Hants council.

The public was not privy to the discussions held at the meeting at 5 p.m. When council chambers reopened to the public around 6 p.m., Coun. Jennifer Daniels made a motion to direct staff to write a letter to Bob Schmidt, the president and owner of the Windsor and Hantsport Railway Company Ltd., to express council's concerns with the deterioration of the aboiteau in Hantsport.

The railway tracks are precariously positioned above the failed aboiteau (a dike sluice gate) and are not used anymore other than by private individuals. Residents and councillors have been expressing their concerns over the amount of tidal flow now entering the Halfway River from the Minas Basin for months. The aboiteau’s function was to allow water out at low tide but block excessive water from entering at high tide. The excess water that is now entering the system is damaging the Halfway River bridge and causing more of the banks to erode, they allege.


READ: Hantsport's Halfway River aboiteau failing, residents concerned about bridge integrity


Deputy Warden Paul Morton said council couldn't provide more details on the developing situation.

“Can't say a word other than we're writing a letter,” said Morton following the meeting.

Interim chief administrative officer Martin Laycock said the letter will be ready for council's Feb. 13 meeting. If given the green light that night, it will be sent right away, he said.

 

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