Inverhuron sewer and water
not a popular project
By Liz Dadson
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Inverhuron residents crowd the Kincardine council chamber Saturday morning for the public meeting into the proposed Inverhuron sewer and water project
Judging from the response from Inverhuron residents Saturday morning, the proposed water and sewer project in their neighbourhood is not very popular.
More than 100 people jammed the Kincardine council chamber for the public meeting held in relation to the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project which would bring watermains and sewer lines to the hamlet west of Tiverton, along the shore of Lake Huron.
Bruce Potter and Kelly Vader of B.M. Ross and Associates, Kincardine's municipal engineers, outlined the proposal which has been studied by a steering committee since Oct. 30, 2009. On that committee were five members of the public, municipal staff and councillors, Grey Bruce Health Unit, and the municipal engineers.
Surveys were done through the summer of 2009, said Vader, including 126 on-site surveys. Data was also collected on wells and septic systems, and water samples collected, where possible.
The age of septic systems in the on-site surveys was determined, with the majority between 21-40 years old, some older, and some of indeterminate age.
Vader said the problem is that the existing sewer and water infrastructure in the Inverhuron settlement area is insufficient to service the current population. Also, the age and condition of existing services pose a potential health risk to the community based on the density of development and factors associated with the current environmental setting.
The engineers proposed three servicing alternatives:
The alternatives were presented to the steering committee and the majority agreed with the low pressure system which is also the cheapest, requires no pumping stations, and the municipality has agreed to own and maintain the grinder pumps.
Council has also endorsed a base water rate charge, a mandatory connection policy, and capital and reserve charges for water and sewage.
The mandatory connection means that any property owner who had access to the lakeshore water pipeline (built 10 years ago) will have to hook up now and that money goes toward the old pipeline project. Anyone who did not have access to the pipeline will have to hook up but that money goes toward this Inverhuron infrastructure project.
If council approves the low pressure system with grinder pumps, the cost per landowner would be about $13,000, which includes a base water charge of $7,700 (including capital contribution of $300), and $5,175 for sewers (including capital contribution of $1,775).
Potter said homeowners may have additional costs for electrical panel upgrades (up to $500-$600), plumbing permit, plumbing installation to residence, and the quarterly sewer and water bills.
The next steps, said Vader, is to collect additional public and agency input, meet with the steering committee in the fall and make a final recommendation to council. Once the Environmental Screening Report is completed, a public notice of study completion will be done, likely later this fall.
Councillor Maureen Couture, planning policy chairperson, and deputy mayor Anne Eadie, public works policy chairperson, and the municipal engineers and staff fielded questions from the audience.
When asked about the payment options, Potter said in the past, the municipality allowed for full remittance of the charge, or payment over a set number of years.
Don Stewart asked what happens to the existing sewers on Lake Street South.
Potter said the road allowance there is narrow, leaving little room for horizontal or vertical distance between water and sewer lines. He said the Inverhuron project calls for replacement of the sewer lines there at no cost to the homeowners who have already paid for the existing sewers.
"Do we need a water line along there?" asked Stewart.
"From a purely technical standpoint, that line does not need to be done," said Potter. "But from a risk standpoint, it should be done, to provide full services to Inverhuron. Council is not interested in having pockets of Inverhuron not serviced."
Donna Evans said her water is fine along Lake Street South, and suggested leaving that area alone.
Marian Glen asked if the proposed project would address the stormwater problems in the area. "I've been there 30 years. Why are you including all of us in a project that all of us don't need?"
Potter said the engineers were not asked to address the stormwater issue on this particular project. If the project moves forward, the municipality would have an opportunity to consider storm sewers at the same time to address flooding issues in Inverhuron, he said.
Rick Sanderson (R) of John Brooks Company Limited talks with resident about grinder pumps
"We looked at the risk of the water supply due to nearby septic systems," said Potter.
Couture said that council has not made a final decision on this project.
When questioned about the old pipeline project and the $2-million stranded debt, Eadie said that cost is not the responsibility of the people of Inverhuron. Council has to deal with that.
As for flooding in Inverhuron north, public works manager Jim O'Rourke said a municipal drain is the solution for that area, but that has nothing to do with this project either.
One resident said stormwater should have been address in the EA for this project.
Regarding the timeline for the sewer and water project, Potter said once the EA study is completed, likely in November, it goes to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for approval.
If there are appeals, the project could be held up for three to eight months, he said. Following that, a final design would be done, likely next summer, and the earliest the project could begin would be the following year (2013).
The $9-million project received two-thirds funding from the federal and provincial governments, with the condition that it must be completed by March 31, 2016. If it is not completed by then, the grants disappear, said Potter.
Rick McInroy was concerned that nobody has actual costs for the project.
"You want to pump us Kincardine water, which is not great water and which does not have a great track record," he said. "And the best costing you can give us is a guesstimate. This is good overall information but you're a bit short on specifics."
He said he understands how the grant money works, but noted the money all comes from the same taxpayers.
Potter said if the grant money doesn't come to Kincardine, it'll go elsewhere, and it still comes from local taxpayers.
"The only people making money are B.M. Ross," shouted one audience member. "This has to stop."
Couture said that when the project is tendered, that's when council will know the actual figures.
One resident said she has no problem with her water or sewers and doesn't see the reason for this project at all.
Eadie said the area does not have problems now, but the risk is there for the future, and the municipality has grant money now to do the project.
"If we're not connecting everybody, then we can't do the project," said Couture.
"Then we don't want it," yelled an audience member.
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Monday, July 11, 2011