Several Regina community associations are pushing the City of Regina to replace lead pipes in the city as soon as possible instead of spreading the project over 15 years.
City council will consider approving administration’s recommendation to go with a 15-year lead service connection replacement program during Wednesday’s council meeting. This follows city council’s unanimous decision in 2019 to commit to replacing all lead service lines within five years.
Casey Peart, a member of the Cathedral Area Community Association and president of the Central Zone Board, which represents inner city community associations in Regina, is part of the group of citizens urging the city to keep its promise it made two years ago.
Peart said delaying the project leaves residents at risk of serious health implications.
“Regina drinking water has among the highest lead levels in Canada. This should be treated as a health emergency,” stated Peart. “We’ve heard from a lot of local residents who are extremely concerned and very confused.”
Peart shared that the involved community associations have forwarded recommendations to city council outlining options for financing lead line removal and improving filtration protections for residents while they wait for new water lines.
She noted how some affected citizens have to navigate far too many hurdles to obtain tests and filters, which means there is no equitable protection of all residents including renters, seniors and low income residents.
“People are concerned that if this program is dragged out over 15 years, they won’t truly know if there is lead in their water even with these filtration systems,” Peart explained. “I just don’t think there is an assurance of the public’s access to safe drinking water with the current (city) programs and recommendation.”
Peart added that the community associations are willing to discuss how they can collaborate with the city to address this issue.
The City’s recommendation shows a target completion year of 2036 if the 15-year plan is approved by council. Administration is also recommending an approval for the mandatory replacement of a private side lead service connection when a city-owned lead service connection is replaced.
City council meets at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon from city hall.