As published in The Erin Advocate It is surprising that Erin Town Council has not yet adopted a process of looking five years ahead in allocating money for roads, bridges, buildings, water infrastructure, recreation facilities and major equipment. They should heed the advice of their new Chief Administrative Officer Frank Miele (and Treasurer Sharon Marshall) and set a five year capital budget, moving the Town into a modern model of financial management.
The nearly completed SSMP has been presented on April 16th to Council for comment, which would complete Phase 2 of the EA (Environmental Assessment) process. As part of the SSMP, the recent Assimilative Capacity Study for the WestCreditRiver, arranged by the developer(s), concluded our community of Erin-Hillsburgh could accept a population of 10,000 to 13,500 only if our wastewater could be treated to a tertiary treatment level by building a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP.) The completed SSMP recommends our community consider as an example the cost of $65+ million for a conventional STP collected via traditional gravity sewers to service our future population of 6500 in 2035 (as the OP), excluding any communities developed in the future.
West Credit remains healthy despite contamination: CVC
If the Town of Erin opts for communal sewage treatment, it will not be primarily to save the West Credit River from the impact of private septic systems. The river is actually doing quite well, in spite of some septic contamination, according to a report by Credit Valley Conservation (CVC).
Surface water quality is good and Brook Trout are spawning, even in the urban areas. Buffer zones of vegetation that help protect the water from human activity cover 84 per cent of the stream banks. Deep groundwater that supplies municipal wells has no impact from septic systems, no organic contaminants and no trace of other chemicals such as pesticides.
CVC spent about $350,000 to test the West Credit and monitor the local ecosystem in 2007-2008, analyze the results and produce this Existing Condition Report. It is the environmental component of Erin’s Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (SSMP). The cost has been shared by all Credit watershed municipalities, with most of the funds coming from the Region of Peel.
Much like the our town of Erin is going through currently, the town of Nobleton, Ontario, has recently undergone construction of a centralized sewage treatment plant. The plan to build and connect Nobleton home to the system has been a long and costly process to this point, and has caused a number of problems for the town and its residents.
There are a number of similarities between the situation and Nobelton and the one we are facing in Erin, and it provides a good opportunity for our town to see the possible implications of implementing this new plan. Construction of the initial phase of the Nobleton plan was completed in 2011 and following completion residents were scheduled to hook into the system at by predetermined dates, decided by a variety of criteria (lot size, distance etc).
As we all know one of the main concerns residents have regarding growth plans for the town is the proposal to build a waste/sewage water treatment facility for new and current residents. Before a decision is made as to whether or not this proposal should be accepted, residents must be aware of all the possible implications that come with building and implementing these systems.
As the town of Erin looks to grow and develop into the new millenium it should look to do so sustainably. Recently there has been much discussion as to the best way to seek out and obtain sustainable growth for our residents. The desire to grow the town has resulted in a number of important issues coming to the forefront including housing developments, taxes, costs and sewage systems.
Recently, a plan has been put forward to move the town towards a centralized waste-water management system to not only update our current infrastructure, but also provide the necessary support systems so that new Solmar housing development can be built.
The issue has raised a number of concerns, and it is important citizens of this town have the ability to make their voices and concerns heard.
The 4 primary areas of concern for this coalition are as follows:
The issue surrounding a centralized sewage system and treatment facility arose after the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) expressed concerns that the individual septic systems of Erin were outdated, and posed health and environmental risks if not properly maintained. The issue gained further prevalence when it was discovered that a proposed new housing development would also require a sewage treatment system in order to accommodate potential new housing units.
The issue surrounding the central system is a major topic of conversation for many residents. As the Servicing & Settlement Master Plan (SSMP) gets closer to presenting recommendations to town council, it is important that residents consider all options, and weigh the pros and cons of each appropriately.
The proposed housing development by Solmar would add over a thousand residences to the community, and significantly increase the population by more than doubling it. Such a large development in our town would require a more sophisticated sewage and wastewater treatment facility, and a centralized system would allow for that and also provide a system for existing residents to hook into to solve current concerns.