A deep well of frustration was tapped tonight with west Saint Johners turning out in droves for a meeting on the water issues.
The meeting, which was hosted by mayor Don Darling at the Branch 69 Legion with councillors in attendance, drew hundreds and comes as reports of leaking pipes have poured in to Saint John Water following the switchover from lake water to water from the South Bay Wellfield in September. 107 have been made as of Tuesday.
West side resident for approximately 70 years Frances Brownell shared her story with the crowd — she had to have a room entirely gutted after a huge leak which left her room 'like a sponge, the walls were just waves of water.' She says after all was said and done she was left with a bill of over $11,000, and this was the first and only claim on her insurance.
"Up until today I have gone to bed thinking about it, and got up thinking about it, and probably checked my basement five times a day," Brownell tells CHSJ News. "You can go a little mental over it. Sure enough Friday, didn't I find another one."
"Then I was left with the choice of do I replace this whole business, I'm retired on a pension, and it meant I would have to take out a loan," says Brownell.
One man in the crowd said that a leak cost him $16,000 while another said 'you cannot put something in that water system that causes damage to the homeowner and expect the homeowner to pay for it.'
Mayor Don Darling told the crowd from the outset that the point of the meeting is to have an opportunity for face-to-face dialogue and that the issues won't be solved tonight. He has promised that a second meeting will be held on the west side water problems.