Open Letter to Mayor Peter Kelly, Halifax Regional Municipality RE: Sewage stench in downtown Halifax

    HALIFAX, Aug. 11 /CNW/ - On behalf of the foodservice operators in
downtown Halifax, I am writing to express the industry's extreme frustration
with your lack of action to address the fallout from the failure of the
Halifax sewage treatment plant in January. To many it seems that officials are
too busy pointing fingers and shifting blame while small business owners bear
the brunt of the mishap.
    The failure of the plant occurred six months ago and still business are
contending with very strong, unpleasant odours. The summer months are a
make-or-break time when foodservice operators rely on waterfront traffic. Yet
this year, business operators report a large number of complaints from
customers about the strong odours both inside and outside their businesses. In
some instances the odours are so strong that customers refuse to be seated in
outdoor patio areas. Many operators believe the public awareness of raw sewage
pouring into the harbour on Lower Water Street is also keeping many local and
regional customers away from the waterfront area.
    Foodservice operators in the downtown core are bewildered by the lack of
concern for this deplorable situation. A vibrant hospitality industry is often
touted as a major draw to the downtown core - providing thousands of jobs and
millions of dollars of tax revenue - yet HRM does little to support the
industry. Along with the malodorous stench from the harbour, foodservice
operators in the downtown core are also burdened with crumbling
infrastructure, excessive business tax rates, incomprehensible construction
scheduling and a lack of affordable parking.
    Operators on the waterfront have already had to put up with six months of
the stench of raw sewage - including during a major portion of their tourism
season. The installation of several ozonators is a clear case of too little
too late. Action such as the extension of the outfall should have begun months
ago. Furthermore, businesses should not be kept in the dark on progress
towards a solution. City officials should communicate directly with businesses
impacted by the mishap to share information on what occurred and timelines as
to what is being done to fix the problem both in the short term and the long
term. Operators need to know when to expect relief from the strong smell and
when the plant will be back on line.
    On behalf of the foodservice industry in the region, I urge you to lift
the veil of secrecy surrounding the sewage treatment plant and take strong
action to resolve the current problems. I trust you will act on these
recommendations. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this
further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Respectfully yours,
    Luc Erjavec, P. Eng.
    Vice President Atlantic Canada
    Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
    phone: 902-425-0061

    cc: HRM Councillors

For further information:

For further information: Luc Erjavec, P. Eng., Vice President Atlantic
Canada, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, phone: (902)
425-0061, email:

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