Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Town workers praised for exceptional job

With Public Works crews continuing to work daily on broken pipes and other problems stemming from the brutal winter season, town administration praised staff for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Town CAO Mark McCaig said Monday evening that the corporation would be remiss if it didn’t acknowledge the hard work and overtime hours Public Works has put in over the past few months.

He added he and members of council has received numerous phone calls from the public “who really took a look at how bad the situation was, with unprecedented numbers of frozen waterlines and watermain breaks.”
“And then throw in a whack of snow—the response was admirable,” remarked McCaig. “We had several people that worked day after day after day, long hours, and I know it’s because of concern for our residents ... people who they wanted to see get their water back on.
“I was very proud of how they discharged their duties and the commitment they had to discharge their duties the best they could under the circumstance,” he added, noting residents and realtors alike spoke to the courtesy and professionalism of the Public Works staff.
“That goes right from the ladies taking the phone calls to the managers to the GIS people to all the guys in the water crew, the operators, people that are keeping the equipment going,” said McCaig, adding he spoke personally to division staff on Monday to tell them that mayor, council, and the corporation as a whole feels “they went above and beyond the call of duty this year.”
“I am so happy the vast majority of people in town have indicated to myself that they appreciate their efforts as well,” he remarked. “I think they should be pretty proud of our staff for the job they did this year.”
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said there has been a unprecedented number of problems stemming from this past winter, which Public Works continues to deal with.
Brown noted there has been 22 watermain breaks and five sanitary sewer or storm sewer breaks since Jan. 1, with five breaks outstanding as of earlier this week. Last year, Public Works only had to do six digs, three of which were in winter, three in summer.
He added the cost of digging in the winter is double than in the summer, and “the repair is the easy part.” On average, it costs the town $15,000 a day to dig and fix various breaks in winter.
There was a total of 257 frozen service lines to residential and commercial water customers—far more than the average six to 10 the town normally experiences.
There are currently 18 customers on temporary water services because the town was unable to thaw their lines, and the town is hoping to address there as soon as they can.
“What I am worried about is the frost coming out of the ground,” said Brown, adding the thaw usually results in more leaks.
“Hopefully, it’s not too severe,” he noted.
Brown mentioned that crews have been working to patch holes in the roads, and will be stepping it up as the weather improves. The street sweepers also will go out sooner than later.

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