First of two public meetings held on plan
Residents who attended a public information meeting Thursday are eager to learn more about Norfolk County’s multi-million dollar municipal water distribution plan.
Almost 20 residents attended the session held in the Norfolk County Council Chambers. The $180- million plan seeks to connect Simcoe, Port Dover, Waterford, Delhi and Port Rowan to the high-capacity treatment plant in Nanticoke through 100-kilometres of pipe.
The project will be done in stages with the first phase being the Simcoe to Nanticoke connection by way of Townsend by 2026.
County officials have said improvements to Norfolk’s water supply are needed to meet long-term capacity demands. In some areas of Norfolk, moratoriums on new development have been put in place because of water supply concerns.
Stage 1 calls for a booster pumping station, an elevated water tower and 20.3 kilometres of pipeline. The water tower will be located on municipally-owned property to act as a buffer during periods of peak water consumption.
All elements of Stage 1 were on display at Thursday’s public information centre.
But, Dennis and Diane Sovereign of Simcoe were particularly interested in one element of the project.
“We live right here on Norfolk Street North and the Sunrise Trail runs right behind us,” Dennis said pointing to a placard detailing the route of the pipeline.
There is a butterfly habitat on the east side of the trail and berry bushes on the west side, Diane said.
They attended Thursday’s session because they want to know where the pipeline will go. They say the best place for the pipeline to go would be underneath the trail.
Adam Mohammed of Culver Lane, Simcoe, also attended Thursday’s session. He and his wife Nica vanBeuzekom, operate Branching Path Farm, a small-scale diverse community supported agriculture operation and market farm.
“I’m kind of neutral on this,” Mohammed said. “I can see that the county wants to bring water in and I can’t say I’m opposed to that.
“But, in general, I’m a small-scale organic farmer and I don’t like to see fields turned to subdivisions.”
More water could in turn lead to more development, which becomes problematic, he said.
The couple is also concerned about the placement of the watermain, which, as they understand it would run along the east border of their property.
“We’re just concerned about what might happen to all the trees on the east side of our field,” Mohammed said. “They provide a nice wind break and are nice for wildlife.”
The couple also uses nearby 14th Street to come and go from their property. They’re wondering how construction of a pipeline would impact on access to their property for both them and their customers.
Mohammed welcomed the opportunity to ask questions and said he got some answers while some things are still uncertain.
The public information centre held Thursday was the first of two sessions planned for the Simcoe-Townsend phase of the project. No date has been established for the second session but it’s anticipated that it will take place sometime in September.