Township looks to recover costs from Ripley lagoon operation from vehicle owner

Huron-Kinloss council briefs

By Barb McKay

The township will look to recoup the costs of a recovery operation at the Ripley lagoon from the owner of a stolen car that was retrieved from the water.

Ripley-Huron Fire Chief Chris Cleave provided Huron-Kinloss council with a report of the incident during its meeting last Monday evening. The fire department was called out to the lagoon on Park Street to assist the South Bruce OPP around 2 a.m. on Sept. 25 where police were responding to a call that a vehicle had driven into the water.

Cleave said firefighters assisted in a ground search for potential accident victims. Since it was unclear if there was anyone still in the vehicle, the department requested the Kincardine Fire Department to provide mutual aid water rescue standby. Cleave said there were health and safety concerns with entering the lagoon so the OPP search and rescue dive team was called in. No one was found in the vehicle, which police determined was stolen.

Firefighters were sent home before 5 a.m., but called back around 9 a.m. to provide hazardous materials decontamination services to the OPP. After briefings and a health and safety meeting, the operation was complete at 8:20 p.m.

“It was an interesting call and at the end of the day everything came together the way it should have on our end,” Cleave said, adding it was a long day for firefighters.

Public Works Director Hugh Nichol said his department has conducted water sampling at the lagoon on Sept. 25 and will take additional samples to ensure there is no contamination from the vehicle being in the water. The biggest concern, he said, is motor oil.

Cleave said there are costs associated with the operation, including firefighter hours and equipment purchases – so far totally $5,945. Cleave said he expects there will be additional costs, such as the replacement of the gate at the entrance of the lagoon.

“The costs we know about aren’t that bad,” said Treasurer Jodi MacArthur. “I’m more concerned about the costs we don’t know about.”

Council agreed to recoup costs incurred by the township from the vehicle owner’s insurance company.

*Work is getting underway on the new Ripley water tower.

Nichol told council during its meeting last Monday that staff held a pre-construction meeting with consultants from B.M. Ross and Associates and the contractor, Landmark Structures Co., on Sept. 28 to discuss the project timeline.

Landmark plans to break ground this week and complete the underground work by the end of November. Nichol said the water tower is expected be complete and operational by mid-November 2018.

Councillor Don Murray said it would be nice if the project could be complete in time for the 2018 Ripley Fall Fair, at the end of September.

The project is budgeted at $3.2 million.