Bluffs wa­ter plan EA fin­ished

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FRONT PAGE - ROB GOWAN SUN TIMES STAFF

The pro­posed ex­pan­sion of the East Lin­ton wa­ter sys­tem all the way to Pot­tawatomi Vil­lage in the Ni­col’s Gully area is a step closer af­ter the com­ple­tion of an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment.

Mayor Al Bar­foot said it will be up to the next coun­cil of Ge­or­gian Bluffs to de­cide if the project will go ahead, but he thinks it is a wor­thy project, should the fund­ing be made avail­able by the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments.

“I think coun­cil has been con­sis­tent over the years to help all the small wa­ter sys­tems,” said Bar­foot, who is not run­ning in this year’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion. “I think this is an ex­am­ple where we can try to help the Pot­tawatomi sub­di­vi­sion and elim­i­nate a smaller sys­tem and have it joined into a big­ger sys­tem.”

Bar­foot said the fed­eral govern­ment has in­di­cated they are look­ing at an in­fras­truc­ture pro­gram that would see up­per-tier gov­ern­ments pro­vide fund­ing in the range of 72 per cent of the to­tal cost.

“If that hap­pens to fol­low through, which we cer­tainly hope it will, then this cer­tainly would be a project that we would hope the new coun­cil would se­ri­ously con­sider mov­ing it for­ward,” said Bar­foot.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment process, which in­cludes re­ceiv­ing in­put from res­i­dents and other in­ter­ested par­ties and in­volves weigh­ing so­cial and eco­nomic fac­tors, is re­quired be­fore any fund­ing re­quests are made. The EA is now good for 10 years.

“Ob­vi­ously the cur­rent coun­cil is of the opin­ion that hope­fully some­thing will come up long be­fore then,” said Bar­foot. “That is why we pro­ceeded through with this.”

Bar­foot ad­mit­ted that the process has gone for­ward with some con­tro­versy as there are some along the pro­posed route who have a good wa­ter source that don’t want the mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice, but there are oth­ers who don’t have a good wa­ter source “that are look­ing for help.”

The pro­posed route for the ex­pan­sion would see the sys­tem ex­tended south from the In­dian River, along Grey Road 1, up Grey Road 17A to Range Road, along Range Road to 30th Street West, along 30th Street West to Somers Street, along Somers Street to Youngs Drive, be­fore fol­low­ing Youngs Drive to Pot­tawatomi Vil­lage.

The cost of the ex­pan­sion has been pegged at be­tween $6.7 mil­lion and $8.4 mil­lion de­pend­ing on the route fol­lowed and other fac­tors such as adding fire hy­drants along the way. The cost to in­di­vid­ual prop­erty own­ers would vary de­pend­ing on the amount of fund­ing re­ceived.

“We an­tic­i­pate there will be nu­mer­ous side­lines that will come off this main trunk line to ser­vice ar­eas where peo­ple don’t have good wa­ter ser­vice to­day,” said Bar­foot.

The sys­tem, with a ca­pac­ity to serve about 1,700 con­nec­tions, cur­rently has the equiv­a­lent of 464 con­nec­tions. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity sent out ap­prox­i­mately 270 let­ters to the res­i­dents and own­ers of prop­er­ties fronting the streets where the pro­posed wa­ter­main would run.

The Pot­tawatomi sys­tem, which has just 25 users, is small and costly for the users, who con­tinue to see their bills rise with govern­ment re­quire­ments re­lated to drink­ing wa­ter in­fras­truc­ture and test­ing as the sys­tem ages.

Bar­foot said over the years the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has tried to elim­i­nate its smaller sys­tems by join­ing them with oth­ers and the Pot­tawatomi sys­tem is the last small one re­main­ing, af­ter the Su­ta­criti sys­tem was added to the East Lin­ton sys­tem and the Maple Crest and For­est Heights sys­tems were added to Owen Sound’s sys­tem.

“The oth­ers are all now of sig­nif­i­cant size now,” said Bar­foot. “Now all our other sys­tems are of a size where they are help­ing all the res­i­dents on them to be a lot closer to be­ing self-sus­tain­able, that is for sure.”

Bar­foot said the sys­tem would also bring wa­ter to parts of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that don’t have very good wa­ter ser­vice, par­tic­u­larly in the 30th Street West area.

“There has al­ways been a part where there is ei­ther too much wa­ter as in the drainage, and then not enough wa­ter as in potable wa­ter to drink,” Bar­foot said. “30th Street has been an is­sue, but other streets that come off of it, those peo­ple have good wa­ter, so we have tried to di­rect it just to the ar­eas that need it. We hope in the long term that if there is a wa­ter line go­ing by some­one’s prop­erty they will even­tu­ally hook up if they have any well is­sues.”

Bar­foot said hav­ing mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter could also help spur new devel­op­ment, par­tic­u­larly in the area of Mount Pleas­ant Ceme­tery on Grey Road 17A.

“There is a lot of pro­posed devel­op­ment there, so this en­com­passes all of that now,” said Bar­foot. “From a mu­nic­i­pal stand­point we are cer­tainly OK with ex­tend­ing along there as it helps that en­tire wing of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.”

Bar­foot said the ex­pan­sion of the sys­tem es­sen­tially be­came the only op­tion for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity as it looked into what it could do. The pro­posed ex­pan­sion would ac­tu­ally cross Owen Sound’s sys­tem in the VLA area around 16th Street West, but the city’s of­fi­cial plan states that it won’t ex­tend wa­ter to neigh­bour­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“Un­for­tu­nately that wasn’t an op­tion so we have pro­gressed along this line,” said Bar­foot.

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