Lawn watering restrictions revised; law passed in three weeks

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – City councillors were not about to give its public works department full reign on controlling lawn watering and irrigation systems in the municipality.

Instead, during Monday night’s meeting, council has told staff to come back with a bylaw instituting a watering restriction at its discretion during July and August this year when the city’s water tower is out of service for repainting.

Under the originally-proposed bylaw, the municipal works department had wanted a summer restriction from June 15 to Sept. 30, allowing people with irrigation systems or sprinklers with even-numbered addresses to water on even-numbered days and odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days.

There was also a clause in the bylaw giving staff unfettered control of imposing more restrictions as it deemed necessary to control the city’s water supply.

Coun. Maurice Dupelle questioned how the already taxed bylaw enforcement department was going to handle complaints.

Municipal Works General Manager John St. Marseille said the focus will be on education before enforcement.

“We really want to focus on outreach,” he told council.

Coun. Justin Towndale argued that he would support it for this year but there shouldn’t be sweeping authority by staff.

“Enforcement? There will be no enforcement. It won’t work,” Coun. Claude McIntosh quipped.

“I don’t think there’s an epidemic (of people wasting water),” Coun. Andre Rivette said, noting that possibly more water is wasted flushing fire hydrants.

The bylaw, which won’t be passed for another three weeks, will come back to council with an amendment allowing the restrictions only during the water tower downtime.

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