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Last Mountain Lake residents react to removal of natural gas service
Published Wednesday, June 7, 2017 6:29PM CST
A cabin owner in Regina Beach is breathing a sigh of relief after finding out her cabin won’t be cut off from SaskEnergy.
"We checked out a lot of property that is closer to the area that is effected by SaskEnergy,” said Lauren Steele. “It's pretty rough, to be honest, which I really think is sad. I think we really lucked out.”
Nearly 250 residents in six communities around Last Mountain Lake will lose their SaskEnergy service by Sept. 5, 2017. The Crown corporation said if there is major rainfall, it may cause service to end sooner. The six affected communities are Regina Beach, Saskatchewan Beach, Buena Vista, Sundale, Shore Acres and Craven. SaskEnergy said the cutoff is necessary because the ground in the region is shifting.
"We're seeing underground leaks at a much higher level than the provincial average would be, and we just can't accept that as a safety risk," said SaskEnergy spokesperson Dave Burdeniuk.
Shifting gas lines have been an issue in the area in the past. In 2014, a house in Regina Beach exploded because of ruptured gas line. No one was injured in that incident.
"We're trying to avoid anything like what happened in 2014 from happening again," said Burdeniuk.
In Buena Vista, 49 residents will lose the service in the fall. The mayor of the community said it’s unfortunate for the affected residents, but it’s a necessary change, as safety comes first.
"It's not acceptable to have my residents in danger by gas leaks,” said Bill Dino. “Whatever it takes, then that's what we'll do."
SaskEnergy is giving affected residents a $2,500 fuel transition allowance. However, a Regina plumbing and heating company doesn’t think that will be enough money to cover the expense of switching furnaces to propane or electrical.
"Some furnaces might even be too old to convert them to propane,” said Maryietta Lerat of All Premium Plumbing and Heating.
“If they're five or six years old, it's possible, but it will depend on what kind of furnace they have (and) if that gas valve will be able to work with the conversion kit."
Affected residents received calls on Tuesday if they will have their service cut off. Information packages will also be sent out in the mail to affected customers.