CONVENT — The St. James Parish Council approved an ordinance moving a Vacherie polling place to a new location as required by federal reapportionment directives forcing the parish to create new precinct districts.

The creation of the new precinct districts obliged the Parish Council to accommodate voter accessibility, according to the ordinance approved during Wednesday’s council meeting.

The polling places for Precincts 16A and 16B will now be located at the South Vacherie Volunteer Fire and Rescue Training Center on Health Unit Street in Vacherie.

The old polling location for Precincts 16A and 16B was at the South Vacherie fire substation on La. 644, according to the ordinance.

Parish Councilmen Elwyn Bocz, Jason Amato, Wilson Malbrough Jr., Charles Ketchens, Ralph Patin, Ken Brass and Jimmy Brazan all voted to approve the ordinance.

Other business coming before the council included:

UNDERWATER LINE: The council agreed to seek Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program funding to install a waterline connecting the east and west banks of the Mississippi River.

Parish President Dale Hymel Jr. said the $3 million underwater line would link water treatment plants in Convent and Vacherie and would be helpful in case a municipality could not provide water to residents during an emergency.

That’s what happened when Hurricane Gustav hit in 2008 and Lutcher “ran out of water,” Hymel said.

The parish provided water to the area and was nearly forced to ration it because the volunteer fire departments needed the water as well, he said.

BOAT LAUNCH: Craig Calcagno, representing the St. James Boat Club, asked the Parish Council for its support in helping to finance maintenance of the Blind River public boat launch inside the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area.

The deteriorating boat launch — located on St. James Boat Club property and leased to the parish — has docks with loose boards, exposed nails and other problems, Calcagno said.

The Children’s Miracle Network Bass Tournament used the launch in March, and the 19th annual Louisiana Friends Against Childhood Cancer Bass Tournament is scheduled to be held there Sept. 24, he said.

Parish officials said they would look into budgeting money in the future for maintenance of the boat launch.