Central Water in Chester

Image of water running from a tap


The Municipality of Chester is working with the Village of Chester Commission to investigate the potential for installing a central water system for the Village of Chester.

Data collection, growth analysis and community buy-in are critical to the decision. Both the Municipality and the Commission have invested significant funds in collecting data on existing conditions and examining the socio-economic factors related to a central water system for Chester.

On this site, you will find past documents, answers to frequently asked questions, important dates, and hopefully all of the facts you need to become informed about this issue. Please browse through, and we encourage you to register so you can comment and ask questions.


The Municipality of Chester is working with the Village of Chester Commission to investigate the potential for installing a central water system for the Village of Chester.

Data collection, growth analysis and community buy-in are critical to the decision. Both the Municipality and the Commission have invested significant funds in collecting data on existing conditions and examining the socio-economic factors related to a central water system for Chester.

On this site, you will find past documents, answers to frequently asked questions, important dates, and hopefully all of the facts you need to become informed about this issue. Please browse through, and we encourage you to register so you can comment and ask questions.

  • Public Q & A Session - January 15, 2019

    2 days ago

    Municipal Staff fielded questions from the public about the proposed water system at Chester Area Middle School on January 15, 2019. If you were unable to make it, or if you attended but forget some of the questions and answers, below is the Facebook Live video. To view a copy of the questions and answers, click here.


    Municipal Staff fielded questions from the public about the proposed water system at Chester Area Middle School on January 15, 2019. If you were unable to make it, or if you attended but forget some of the questions and answers, below is the Facebook Live video. To view a copy of the questions and answers, click here.


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  • Upcoming Poll

    2 days ago
    The Municipality is conducting a poll of people who own property within the Village boundary. This poll is an opportunity for property owners to express their will in terms of a proposed central water supply. Council will consider the results during their discussions on whether to proceed or not proceed with the project.

    Advanced polling starts at 9:00am on Jauary 18 and ends at 7:00pm on January 24. This is when you can cast your vote online or via telephone. Poll Day is on January 26 from 8:00am to 7:00pm. Cast a paper ballot in person at the Municipal Office,...

    The Municipality is conducting a poll of people who own property within the Village boundary. This poll is an opportunity for property owners to express their will in terms of a proposed central water supply. Council will consider the results during their discussions on whether to proceed or not proceed with the project.

    Advanced polling starts at 9:00am on Jauary 18 and ends at 7:00pm on January 24. This is when you can cast your vote online or via telephone. Poll Day is on January 26 from 8:00am to 7:00pm. Cast a paper ballot in person at the Municipal Office, 151 King Street in Chester.

    This is a non-binding poll, not a plebiscite. A poll allows all property owners in the Village boundary to vote, whereas a plebiscite restricts voting to those whose PRIMARY residence is within the boundary. Non-binding means that the results re not legally binding.

    There is one ballot per Property Identification number (PID), not per property owner. Ballots are secret, and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) can only be used once. You should have received a PIN in your mail by now, but if you haven't, please contact Pam Myra at election@chester.ca

    The Village will be sectioned into divisions (Zones A to E) that will be used as a guideline for project phasing. Phasing will be necessary to secure project funding from the Provincial and Federal governments if the project proceeds. You can view the online map at https://modc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2c8428293f7b447eac5ec5ecf6328f20

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  • Q&A Summary of first Public Information Session

    about 1 month ago

    With well over 100 people in attendance, the first Public Information Session was a success. It was held at the Chester Area Middle School on Tuesday, December 11 starting at 6:00pm. The session began with informal discussions with staff and a display of information. Following that, there was a facilitated question-answer period with many great questions, all of which are summarized in this document: 2018-11-12_Q&A Summary (click here)

    With well over 100 people in attendance, the first Public Information Session was a success. It was held at the Chester Area Middle School on Tuesday, December 11 starting at 6:00pm. The session began with informal discussions with staff and a display of information. Following that, there was a facilitated question-answer period with many great questions, all of which are summarized in this document: 2018-11-12_Q&A Summary (click here)

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  • Fact Sheets for Information

    about 1 month ago

    We have attempted to categorize and summarize some of the information about the proposed central water system in several fact sheets that are now in the Document Library. Please browse them and make comments.

    We have attempted to categorize and summarize some of the information about the proposed central water system in several fact sheets that are now in the Document Library. Please browse them and make comments.

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  • Updated costing schedule

    about 1 month ago

    As of Friday, the Municipality has revised the previous estimates given for the proposed construction of both system options. The total for the project remains the same; however, the number of properties has increased from 1,040 to 1,103. Instead of only one PID for Chandler's Cove units, each have their own individual number. Therefore, each will receive an opportunity to vote in the Poll as well.

    The new figures are in a spreadsheet in the document library titled 12-10-2018_revised_#properties_VoC Water

    It is also important to note that costs associated with usage are for treatment of the water, not distribution. Additional...

    As of Friday, the Municipality has revised the previous estimates given for the proposed construction of both system options. The total for the project remains the same; however, the number of properties has increased from 1,040 to 1,103. Instead of only one PID for Chandler's Cove units, each have their own individual number. Therefore, each will receive an opportunity to vote in the Poll as well.

    The new figures are in a spreadsheet in the document library titled 12-10-2018_revised_#properties_VoC Water

    It is also important to note that costs associated with usage are for treatment of the water, not distribution. Additional costs for distribution will depend on the system size and are unknown at this time.

    Figures have been updated throughout this site and will be available at both Public Information Sessions.

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  • Service Area Map now available

    about 2 months ago

    Are you in the Service Area proposed for central water? Check the online map here:

    https://modc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2c8428293f7b447eac5ec5ecf6328f20

    A few notes about the map:

    • Enter your PID or AAN (found on your property tax bill) to view your property or
    • Zoom in on the left or by using your mouse wheel if you have one
    • The Service Area is broken into divisions for two reasons: 1) they represent the polling divisions that will be used during the vote, and 2) if the Municipal proceeds with constructing a system, the divisions will serve as guidelines for project phasing, which is...

    Are you in the Service Area proposed for central water? Check the online map here:

    https://modc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2c8428293f7b447eac5ec5ecf6328f20

    A few notes about the map:

    • Enter your PID or AAN (found on your property tax bill) to view your property or
    • Zoom in on the left or by using your mouse wheel if you have one
    • The Service Area is broken into divisions for two reasons: 1) they represent the polling divisions that will be used during the vote, and 2) if the Municipal proceeds with constructing a system, the divisions will serve as guidelines for project phasing, which is necessary to secure project funding.
    • Only properties within the Service Area are shown
    • Properties owned by the Municipality of Chester, Village of Chester Commission, and the Province of Nova Scotia are excluded from the poll.

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  • Excerpt from latest article in municipal newsletter

    about 2 months ago
    Residents in the Village of Chester have a choice to make. They will have an opportunity to make that choice on Saturday, January 26, 2019. That is the date when the Municipality will hold a ballot vote on whether Chester Village ratepayers are in favour of a municipally-owned and operated central water supply or not.

    Background
    Council discussions, public input, and plenty of media coverage culminated in a partnership between the Municipality and the Village of Chester Commission to develop a scope of work for a needs assessment and options analysis, including estimated costs. The intention [of the assessment] was...

    Residents in the Village of Chester have a choice to make. They will have an opportunity to make that choice on Saturday, January 26, 2019. That is the date when the Municipality will hold a ballot vote on whether Chester Village ratepayers are in favour of a municipally-owned and operated central water supply or not.

    Background
    Council discussions, public input, and plenty of media coverage culminated in a partnership between the Municipality and the Village of Chester Commission to develop a scope of work for a needs assessment and options analysis, including estimated costs. The intention [of the assessment] was to survey property owners in the Village of Chester to determine their existing water supply conditions, the need for a central water system, and what that system might look like. The cost for that analysis was $19,713, equally shared with the Commission.

    The final report told us that most wells in the Village were dug and not up to today's drinking supply standards. Around a quarter of homeowners who took the survey reported water shortages and more than half used water treatment systems to remove bacteria, minerals, and metals. At least half of the residents have water supplies that are inconsistent or of insufficient quality. However, the presence of bacteria (62% of the 80 wells tested) was consistent with the type (dug, rock-lined) and age (up to and beyond 50 years) of the wells found in the area. It was noted that clean drinking water was achievable on-site through regular water sampling and maintaining treatment systems and well conditions.
    It was suggested that a central water system would significantly improve the consistency, quality, and quantity issues that residents and businesses have and provide a secure source of clean drinking water.
    The report also indicated that locating a system in the Village itself was not ideal because of the poor water quality and quantity. The report recommended that we consider a central groundwater supply in Middle River. Alternatively, a potential surface water location at Spectacle Lake.

    Following the needs analysis, a socio-economic report was recommended in August 2017. The final report provided cost estimates, benefits of a central water system, and further details on the options for different systems. The cost of the socio-economic report was $42,800, also cost-shared with the Commission.

    The report identified that a central water supply would,
    • mitigate impacts of poor water quality and quantity,
    • address certain weaknesses described in the Municipality's Integrated Community Sustainability Plan,
    • improve possibility of growth, and
    • address threats caused by Climate Change.
    Who is affected?
    Property owners whose property is within the Village Boundary agreed upon by the Village of Chester Commission and Council for the Municipality will be affected. The boundary is roughly from (ang including a small part of) Haddon Hill Road to the end of Chester Shore Road, including the Golf Course area and all properties south, including the Peninsula. Options to include up to Chester Shore Mall and Target Hill Road are also being considered.All of the lots in this service area will be eligible for connection, and would be required to pay the capital costs.

    What is the real cost?
    Speaking of costs, CBCL Ltd., the engineering firm hired to do the needs assessment and socio-economic report provided the Municipality and Commission with a "Class D" estimated cost for a couple of water systems. The first option is for a surface water system (Spectacle Lake) in the amount of $44,522,000. The estimated cost for a groundwater system (Middle River) is $46,519,000. For clarification, a "Class D" is an "indicative" estimate, meaning the costs are calculated during the conceptual phase, before a definitive design is settled upon. The range of fluctuation in costs is +/-35%
    At the opposite end of the spectrum, a Class A estimate is also called a "pre-tender" estimate and is generally expected to be within 5-10% of actual costs.

    Other things that affect the end cost are,
    • Insurance rates - Proximity to "fire flow" (fire hydrants, etc.) can decrease insurance premiums, resulting in direct savings to homeowners. However, we encourage contacting your broker or insurer to see exactly what those savings will be. We've heard anywhere from $55 per year to $400.
    • Types of systems - the estimate for a surface water system does not include constructing a dam if needed. The costs for both systems include paving, connections, meters, the plant, and personnel.
    • Fire protection (larger distribution main, increased reservoir size, and hydrants).
    None of the estimates provided include usage costs (consumption).

    The average capital cost per household per year for 25 years will range from $1,516.00 to 1,655.81 (Years 1-10) and $958.22 to 822.61 (Years 11-25), not including consumption.
    So far, costs that have been paid include only engineering reports. The next step in this project will be polling residents and is expected to cost $23,000. This money is taken from the general rate. The Municipality will seek funding for 75% of capital construction costs. The remainder, plus usage rates, will be charged to all of the lots within the service area. The rate for capital is mandatory, and will be applied to their property tax bills whether they connect or not, the same as sewer charges. Those who connect to the system will also pay a usage fee and meter installation. If this funding isn't secured, the project will be re-evaluated.

    What will happen next?
    Before they proceed with any further action on this project, Council wants to get a clear indication of what the public wants. If is evident from the results that affected residents in the service area want a central water supply, the Municipality could proceed with pre-design work, which will cost approximately $1.7 million. That decision won't be made until after the poll.

    To determine the level of support, a vote by secret ballot will be held on Saturday, January 26 with e-voting on the issue the week leading up to it. Only those with property in the service area will be eligible to vote (one vote per property). Properties will be divided into sections geographically so that if a phased approach to installation is chosen, priority areas will be already apparent.

    This is not a plebiscite. Plebiscites only allow those whose primary residence is in the affected area to have a say. Instead, it is a non-binding poll of all property owners in the service area. Prior to polling day, residents should look for a direct mailout (to property owners within the service area), information in the media, information on all municipal platforms (social media, website, newsletter), public information meetings and pop-up booths (in the Village), and engagement at www.voicesandchoices.ca/chester-water.

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  • Chester Water - August 2016 article in Masthead News

    6 months ago
    The Masthead News reports on a Village of Chester Commission meeting where residents voiced concerns over insecure water supplies during the drought in 2016.

    The Masthead News reports on a Village of Chester Commission meeting where residents voiced concerns over insecure water supplies during the drought in 2016.

  • Chester Water October 2017 article by Lighthouse Now

    6 months ago
    Lighthouse Now provides coverage after a Municipal Council meeting where the findings of a water supply assessment was presented.
    Lighthouse Now provides coverage after a Municipal Council meeting where the findings of a water supply assessment was presented.

  • Chester Water March 2017 Media Release issued by MOC

    6 months ago
    A media release issued by the Municipality outlining what to expect from the needs analysis and what led up to the decision.

    A media release issued by the Municipality outlining what to expect from the needs analysis and what led up to the decision.