With growth continuing almost unabated, The Blue Mountains council has asked the question: will we have enough water and sewage capacity for all the coming development?

The question of servicing future growth – including the upcoming Campus of Care project – was on the minds of members of The Blue Mountains council at their committee of the whole meeting on June 27.

Allison Kershaw, the town’s manager of water and wastewater services, delivered the 2022 Year End Water and Wastewater Capacity Assessment. The report provides updated statistics about the town’s ability to meet the servicing demands of future growth.

On the water side, the town currently has a capacity to serve 16,164 total units. Of that amount, 10,728 units are used or allocated with a further 2,681 reserved. This leaves a capacity of 2,755 units available. In 2022, the water system added 263 units.

The Thornbury sewage side system has a total capacity of 5,844 units, the system has 3,646 units used or allocated, with 187 more reserved. That leaves 2,011 units available for growth. The system added 144 units in 2022.

The Craigleith sewage system has a capacity of 12,609 units. The system has used or allocated 5,878 units, a further 2,707 units are reserved leaving the total capacity available at 4,024 units. The system added 144 units in 2022.

The town continues its efforts to reduce and repair leaks in the water system to recapture capacity being lost to leakage issues. In addition, the Phase 1A expansion of the Thornbury sewage plant is scheduled to begin construction in the third quarter of 2023. This project will increase the plant’s capacity.

“Should we be concerned about our capacity at this point?” Coun. Paula Hope asked.

In response, Kershaw said the pace of growth in the town is stretching the systems.

“As the second fastest growing municipality in Canada, it has put strains on the system,” she said. “We do have our eye on the ball. I do have a little bit of a concern.”

Coun. Alex Maxwell asked if the time may come when the municipality has to slow down the pace of local development to preserve capacity in the systems for a project like Campus of Care.

“Would public good outweigh developers?” Maxwell asked.

Adam Smith, the town’s director of planning and development services, said the town has a robust system in place to ensure future development is not allocated servicing capacity the town may not have.

“I’m fairly confident based on our current approach,” said Smith. “The municipality is protected.”

Shawn Carey, the director of operations, said the Campus of Care is a priority project and the town has controls in place.

“We have the ability through conditions of the development agreement to hold that trump card,” he said.

By Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 03, 2023 at 06:30

This item reprinted with permission from   CollingwoodToday.ca   Collingwood, Ontario
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