opposes water pipeline Nawash chief worries about
effect on lakes Don
Owen Sound Sun Times
news - The Chippewas of Nawash have added their
voice to those concerned about a proposal to pipe water
from Georgian Bay or Lake Huron to Walkerton.
It’s one of four options being considered by a team looking
into a safe drinking water source for Walkerton.
The proposal, which would also provide water for many other
small communities along the way, involves transporting 8,000
to 12,000 cubic metres of water a day either from Wiarton
But Cape Croker Chief Ralph Akiwenzie worries that taking
large amounts of water from the Great Lakes could lead to
a proliferation of similar projects and that would eventually
deplete a valuable resource as well as harm the commercial
native fishing industry in Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.
“In our area if you start a trend like that you could have
an impact on our fishery,” said Akiwenzie.
“Water is going to be the number one issue in the future
and the Great Lakes are the last bastion of fresh water
in North America. They have to be protected.”
Akiwenzie also raised concern that bringing water in bulk
from outside the area removes the incentive to clean up
local surface and water sources and encouraging further
Transferring water by pipeline removes the responsibility
of municipalities to provide clean water locally.
That’s a view held by the head of Concerned Walkerton Citizens
who is also a member of the public advisory committee involved
in the environmental assessment.
“If you are not dependent on your own groundwater are you
going to be good stewards of water from somewhere else?”
said Ron Leavoy.
Coun. Chris Peabody said the class environmental assessment
process should have involved Native communities along the
“You can’t run roughshod in this century like you have for
the past 500 years over these people. Natives should have
been consulted,” Peabody said.
On Sept. 23 Brockton council passed a resolution supporting
a joint application by four municipalities to ask the province
if it would help pay for a water pipeline.
A similar resolution was passed by South Bruce Peninsula,
Saugeen Shores and Arran Elderslie.
The other options include expanding Walkerton’s wells, developing
new wells, and buying water from another municipality such
A study by the Ontario Clean Water Agency pegs the cost
of one of the pipeline alternatives at $20-40 million depending
on the number communities served along the way.
Brockton councillor Charlie Bagnato is opposed to the pipeline
option saying the idea would shift the burden of cost onto
“I think the other three municipalities want it because
it won’t cost them much. Walkerton will pay the bulk of
it,” said Bagnato who prefers a less costly option closer
“It’s our responsibility not to burden the taxpayers of
Brockton,” said Leavoy.
Mayor David Thomson says the process of making a decision
on Walkerton’s water has become bogged down and he wants
to speed it up by finding out if the government will fund
the pipeline option. It’s been about a year since the environmental
assessment process began.
“By pushing it a wee bit we’ll get an idea of who is interested
and what the cost is,” Thomson said.
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