All discussions suspended with French side on sewage plant

COLE BAY–The long pending joint sewage plant with the French side will not be moving full speed ahead. Government has decided “to suspend all discussions with the French side” on projects falling under the European Development Fund (EDF) due to the “aggressive” move of the French side in Oyster Pond.

Environment and Infrastructure Minister Angel Meyers told Parliament on Thursday evening the project was moving on positively, but then the “tensions” between the two sides surfaced.

The Ministry is now looking into the reallocation of some seven million euros earmarked for the Cole Bay connection to the now-shelved plant to other projects. “We can’t do Cole Bay without the sewage plant to connect it to,” said the Minister.

A total of three million euros has been allocated for the joint sewage plant itself. The additional seven million euros are for lines and other connections of homes and businesses in Cole Bay.

Answering a number of questions posed by Members of Parliament in the Central Committee session of Parliament on Wednesday, Meyers said a plan of action for the implementation of the sewage levy for the country has been drawn up. The levy has been on the books since 2008, but was never executed as a stumbling point was the method of collection. Two options under consideration are collecting the levy via the billing system of utilities company GEBE or via the Receiver’s Office.

The levy, expected to be implemented in 2017, “can help with the expansion of the sewage network,” said Meyers.

The waste-to-energy plant is still very much on Government’s agenda. However, the idea of shipping out recyclable items from the country has not moved, because “no entity wants the garbage” without it sorted. Government is looking into a material recovery system for recyclables.

All ministers with the exception of Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Ingrid Arrindell appeared before Parliament to answer questions posed in the debate. Arrindell is said to be out of the office and her portfolio was covered by Public Health Minister Emil Lee.

Lee told MPs the country has issued a total of 152 rental car company licenses, of which 72 are operational. Those operational companies represent 2,574 cars.

The Central Committee meeting on the draft 2017 budget wrapped up on Thursday night after debate started on Monday morning. The draft budget will now head to a plenary session of Parliament next week for approval.

Source: The Daily Herald