Cornwall council says ‘no’ to lawn watering law

(Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The majority of city councillors have thrown cold water on a plan to limit when people can water their lawns.

Coun. Elaine MacDonald suggested it sets the city “on the right path” to conserving city water, through the two year pilot project that would let people with even numbered addresses water on even numbered days. The same would apply for odd numbered addresses on odd numbered days.

“It’s a cheap alternative,” MacDonald said, to the $8 million to put in water meters.

Infrastructure Manager John St. Marseille said the city is taking a “soft approach” on enforcement and it takes time for attitudes to change..

Marseille said there were no fines or tickets during the summer of 2015.

“I certainly can go every other day without watering my lawn,” Coun. Carilyne Hebert said. “I see people watering their driveways. Hopefully we get to water metering and conserve even more water.”

Coun. Bernadette Clement said the law is not “telling people what to do” but it’s part of a long term strategy for water conservation.

But many councillors didn’t like the plan.

Coun. Denis Carr says he got a number of calls but they weren’t positive. “You’re not going to be doing that again,” was the gist of the calls, he said.

Carr questioned how the city would enforce the water use in South Glengarry with the city water main extension on Boundary Road.

Coun. Justin Towndale asked how the city would track the savings.

“How many people are asking for this,” Towndale questioned. St. Marseille didn’t have a tabulated number.

Towndale said water meters would give them an incentive but this plan would not do that.

“I believe in conservation but we are going to the extreme here,” Coun. Maurice Dupelle said against the bylaw. “We are sending mixed messages” by passing bylaws but not enforcing them.

The final vote was 6-4 against the restrictions. Councillors Elaine MacDonald, Bernadette Clement, Carilyne Hebert and Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy voted for the retrictions.