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'The community is angry': Inverness residents growing tired of sewage stink
The beautiful and popular beach at Inverness seems to be a victim of its own success.
One of the most scenic spots on Cape Breton Island, Inverness is a hot bed for golfers and beachgoers alike, but the influx of visitors is taxing the community's aging infrastructure.
On Monday, three quarters of the sandy shoreline was closed, and there's a smell in the air that's causing a stink with those who live here.
"The community is angry, they're upset," said Rosemary MacDonald of the Inverness Development Association. "The smell is making people sick to their stomachs."
That smell is coming from the nearby water treatment facility.
Built in 1973, residents say the growth in the community has far exceeded the infrastructure.
"We can't open our windows, we can't sit outside when the smell comes," said Inverness resident Laura Cormier. "It's embarrassing."
Paul Hannon is from Halifax and recently bought a summer home in the area. He rents it out from time to time as an Airbnb.
"It stinks," Hannon said. "I should have a cloth in front of my face, it's that bad standing right here. I had people complain this summer on more than one occasion. One gave me my first ever bad review because of the stink."
According to the Inverness Development Society, a new wastewater plant would cost about $6 million. More than 700 residents have signed a petition wanting all levels of government to take immediate action.
"I just don't think we had the experience of what development looked like in a small rural community to think we really had to get ahead of this as fast as we should of," said Inverness County Coun. Jim Mustard.
Mustard feels, even if government funding came through, it will take more than a year to develop a plan. He says the community needs emergency funding now and they held a meeting Monday night to rally for action.
"I spoke to one of the local doctors and he said this is a contaminated site, that's what you're dealing with here," MacDonald said. "It can't hold anymore and what we are smelling is raw sewage."
Residents want action before the federal election is called and funding dries up.
The hope is that the rally will raise awareness and bring attention to a problem many are calling a crisis.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore.