application almost ready Municipal officials want
to see how much money is available Phil
The Owen Sound Sun Times
news - The application to find out how much
grant money might be available to help build a regional
water pipeline from Lake Huron to Walkerton and other communities
in Bruce County is almost ready to be presented to the province.
“We’re hoping to get it in in the next week or two,” said
Andy Valickis of the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA),
who is preparing the application on behalf of Brockton,
which includes Walkerton as well as Saugeen Shores, South
Bruce Peninsula and Arran-Elderslie.
Valickis is project manager for the Brockton class environmental
assessment that started last year looking at various options
for the long-term upgrade of the Walkerton water system.
He’s also project manager for a similar class environmental
assessment in Saugeen Shores.
South Bruce Peninsula and Arran-Elderslie are also going
through similar exercises, prompted by tough new Ontario
drinking water regulations.
The idea of building a regional water pipeline from Wiarton
on Georgian Bay, or from Southampton on Lake Huron, is one
of the options being considered by all four of the environmental
assessments. The mayors and senior staff from the municipalities
recently met to discuss the possibility of working together.
All four councils have passed resolutions approving the
joint filing of an application for funding under the province’s
Ontario Small Town and Rural (OSTAR) program.
Dick Radford, Brockton’s chief administrative officer, described
it as a “fact-finding” mission, designed only to find out
how much grant money would be available for a regional pipeline.
“We’re in the process of putting that together,” he said.
There’s no detailed plan yet. But the application has to
include a verbal description of the pipeline proposal, including
a route and it had to name either Wiarton or Southampton
as the initial water source, said Valickis.
Southampton was picked because it was cheaper option than
Wiarton and one the province would be more likely to fund,
Valickis said the pipeline route described in the application
goes from Southampton down Bruce County Road 3 to Paisley
and from there to Walkerton. Other communities along the
way or near the pipeline could be hooked up to the system.
Valickis stressed the application does not mean the pipeline
project has been given the local green light. He echoed
Radford’s comments that it’s strictly designed to find out
how much provincial money it would get. The consultants
working on the Brockton and other class environmental assessments
need the information to complete their financial evaluations
of the various options, he said.
He was reluctant to discuss how much a regional pipeline
would cost because “all the numbers are so preliminary.”
But no doubt it’s a “big project” that would cost “10s of
millions,” he said.
And he also said the per-household costs could be “very
reasonable” if two-thirds senior government funding is available,
one-third from the province and one-third from the federal
government, along with one-third municipal funding.
Valickis admitted that technically a class EA should be
done for the regional pipeline concept before an application
for funding is submitted. Instead, it’s being submitted
under the Brockton environmental assessment.
“We just want to know,” he said. “Before we go through the
trouble of the area EA we want to find out if two-thirds
funding is available for an area system.”
Valickis and Radford said provincial officials advised taking
this approach. But no one in the government has already
indicated the application will be approved.
Consultants working on the South Bruce Peninsula class EA
have told Sauble Beach area property owners the estimated
cost of building a pipeline from Wiarton to Hepworth and
Sauble Beach is about $29 million. They’ve suggested an
alternative, consolidating existing communal systems in
the Sauble and Oliphant areas at a cost of $7.2 million.
But many homeowners are already balking at $1,100 in annual
Meanwhile, the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation at Cape
Croker near Wiarton has raised concerns about the idea of
a regional pipeline from Georgian Bay or Lake Huron. Chief
Ralph Akiwenzie fears it would deplete the freshwater resource
of the Great Lakes, harm the aboriginal fishery in local
waters and undermine the incentive of inland communities
to protect their groundwater.
John Steele, a spokesperson for the Ontario Environment
Ministry, said the idea of using Great Lakes water to supply
inland communities is not new in Ontario.
“It’s been done before,” he said, noting the City of London
gets its water through a pipeline from Grand Bend on Lake
Huron. And the plan to build a pipeline from Collingwood
to the Alliston area is “under way,” Steele said.
In the mid-1980s some municipal politicians floated the
idea of a pipeline from Georgian Bay to Toronto to supply
the city with a better quality of freshwater than Lake Ontario
offered, but no detailed studies were done and the idea
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