Norfolk County has settled on a near-term solution to its water-capacity issues in Port Dover and Simcoe.
That solution involves a $2.7-million expansion of the water-treatment plant in Port Dover and a multi-million dollar investment in piping raw water from a new well field in Bloomsburg into Simcoe.
The decision on June 8 includes a hold on new development applications in Port Rowan until such time as capacity issues there are addressed.
For more than a year, Norfolk council and staff have studied the construction of a pipeline from the high-capacity treatment plant in Nanticoke into Norfolk by way of St. John’s Road East and Jarvis.
However, with new development applications on hold in Port Dover and Simcoe, all concerned have concluded an immediate solution is required. The Haldimand option remains on the table and – while preferred as a permanent, long-term solution – is many years from fruition even if it proves feasible.
“This has been a long time coming,” CAO Jason Burgess told council. “Staff have invested a lot of money on engineering and would like to move forward with a water solution.”
Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus noted that developers with investments in Port Dover and Simcoe have been on hold for many months and are chomping at the bit to get busy again.
“I agree,” Columbus said. “We have to get the Port Dover situation straightened around as soon as possible. We’ve probably all been getting calls from developers for quite some time.”
The report says expansion of the water-treatment plant in Port Dover should begin next spring and finish by the fall of 2022. The report says some construction that has been on hold will be able to proceed to the point where the new buildings are ready to connect to the municipal system.
Meanwhile, Norfolk has spent $1 million to date testing the potential of the “North East Well Field” in Bloomsburg. These tests indicate the source can produce 5,800 cubic metres of raw water per day. This is enough to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools with 800 cubic metres to spare.
Burgess said the expansion in Port Dover and the Bloomsburg well field recommend themselves because nearly all the engineering and paperwork for these projects are complete.
Conversely, Norfolk has spent next to nothing on a potential connection to the Nanticoke plant. Meanwhile, Norfolk public works won’t find out how much water Haldimand County can spare in Nanticoke till this fall. With construction delays dragging on, staff said the time has come to get on with fostering growth.
If Haldimand as a water source proves unworkable, Mayor Kristal Chopp said the long-term solution will involve construction of a mega-treatment plant in Port Dover with pipelines branching north to Simcoe and Waterford and possibly beyond.
Chopp referenced a Norfolk staff report from 2007 in which the Nanticoke plant – which was built nearly 50 years ago to serve the “satellite city” of Townsend – was cited as a potential source of potable water in south-central Ontario for most all urban communities in the Grand River watershed.
The estimated cost of the Nanticoke-Grand Valley Area Water Supply Project 14 years ago was $1 billion. Had the province and associated municipalities acted on the vision when it presented itself, Chopp said Norfolk’s water issues would be solved by now. Instead, she added, the municipality continues to pour millions into repairs, expansions and upgrades for the municipality’s five treatment plants.