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Lone Rock residents scrambling to deal with loss of utilities

The community of Lone Rock is looking for answers. The RM of Wilton reportedly announced it will be shutting off the hamlet’s water and sewer supply at a meeting last Tuesday.

Residents say they were told by Reeve Glen Dow that they have two options: either leave and sell their homes to the RM or stay and pay for the extra costs of installing their own water and septic tank.

Lone Rock resident Melissa Heney says Dow explained that the community costs the RM too much.

“They made a decision as hard as it was for them that we had to convert to these country residential properties or take whatever they offered us for money and leave.”

Heney says she has no idea what it means to become a “country residential” property other from having their own sewer and water systems. She says the RM did not give people any other options.

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A second town meeting will be held in January for the residents who have chosen to stay. However, Heney says they don’t know what they’re staying for.

“We’re not a community of politicians. We all have day jobs and are trying to live our lives. We didn’t sign up to go into a battle with the RM. We’re not asking them for a lot, it’s water and sewer. It’s a basic necessity of life.”

Heney claims residents were told the RM has budgeted $2 million to buy houses from those who want to sell. She says they were told that there are 37 homes in the hamlet and husband Horace Holt says he’s heard there are about 20 households left.

“There seems to be a lot of secrecy in whatever they’re doing. It seems to be more of trying to scare the residents of Lone Rock into doing what they tell us to do without giving us options,” says Holt.

He adds that people are selling their homes even though they don’t want to, saying “most of the people that sold, sold because we’re going to be out of water and sewer.”

The couple says they’re not sure of their next step, but are waiting to get their house appraised by Musgrave Agencies. Currently, the RM has not put an offer on their property, unlike fellow resident Lloyd Ludwig.

Ludwig owns two properties in the hamlet including the Lone Rock Pentecostal Church, which he bought earlier this year. He says the RM has made an offer on the church which he did not accept because it was reportedly below market value.

“There’s nothing they can do to make me leave that I can’t fix before they get it achieved. They’re going to turn off our water and sewer I’ve already talked to a person about putting in a cistern and a bigger septic tank. It’s going to cost me money to stay there, but it costs you money to live everywhere.”

Heney says the RM started purchasing properties in the hamlet under a numbered company five months ago. She says she has asked the RM who was purchasing the properties, but didn’t get an answer.

“We asked what was going to happen with these properties and [the Reeve] had said they would go on the market for 30 days and if they didn’t sell the RM would do something with them. To me, that’s the invite for whoever they’re working with to come in and buy.”

She and her husband have contacted a lawyer and have reached out to their MLAs to get some support.

“The community started to come together now and started to realize what’s happening. People that are left and everyone is still scared, everyone is panicking.  We’re trying to get some kind of representation where we put a halt to people getting scared.”

Residents report the RM has extended its deadline from September 30 to October 31 for property owners to decide whether they will sell their land or continue living in Lone Rock.

The Goat newsroom has made several attempts to reach the RM of Wilton for comment. 

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