Tensions continued to rise in Council Chambers at City Hall last week, when Council debated two resolutions which stemmed from a water break in the Station Road area last October.
The resolutions were to approve payments to two companies, Water X and Eric’s Plumbing and Heating, with a total cost of $57,218.75.
Mayor Dennis Fenkse spoke to Arctic Radio News to clarify what happened, and why the City is on the hook to pay. He explained that the City, after conducting tests, original thought the water break was with the service line to Water X which made it their responsibility to fix. Water X then hired a contractor, Eric's Plumbing, to conduct the repairs.
While they (Eric's Plumbing) were working, it was discovered that it was in fact the water main that was the issue and not the service line. Since the water main is the responsibility of the City, Mayor Fenske said they (the City of Thompson) accepted responsibility, and told the contractor to continue with the repairs and provide the City with the bill.
Councillors Duncan Wong and Ron Matechuk led the charge against the first resolution, which was to cover the $23,931.80 that Water X paid for the work before the real cause of the break was discovered.
Both Councillors Wong and Matechuk questioned the competency of and the process followed by City staff. Both councillors said there was a lack of information. That claim was refuted by both Mayor Fenske and City administration, who said that everything to do with the resolutions was reviewed in detail by all of council two weeks prior to the meeting.
Councillor Penny Byer, who joined the meeting on the phone from Brandon, said that Council needs to focus on whether or not they’ll pay their bills, as the repairs have already taken place at the request of the City. Those thoughts were later echoed by Councillors Valentino and Ellis, as well as Deputy Mayor Smook.
Councillors Matechuk and Kolada, who voted against the resolution to pay Water X, voted in favour of paying Eric’s Plumbing and Heating. Councillor Kolada said that in this case she supports the resolution to pay the billed $33,286.94 as they were hired by the City.