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New Tecumseth, Collingwood pipeline activity moves in camera

Posted April 12, 2017

New Tecumseth councillors met in camera Monday night for a "Collingwood to Alliston pipeline and supply of water update."

It justified the closed door meeting because it's in "regard to the security of the property of the municipality or Local Board as authorized per the Municipal Act, Section 239 (2) (a) and litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or Local Board as authorized per the Municipal Act, Section 239 (2) (e)."

Moments before the in camera portion, council voted 8-2 in a recorded vote to obligate the Town into joining pending discussions between Simcoe County, its lower tier municipalities (Essa and Bradford West Gwillimbury are opposed) and the provincial facilitator re future options for water and wastewater service delivery at a regional, upper tier level.

Voting in favour were Mayor Rick Milne, Deputy Mayor Jamie Smith, Ward councillors Marc Biss, Michael Beattie, Paul Whiteside, Fran Sainsbury, Donna Jebb, and Shira Harrison McIntyre. Opposed, were Richard Norcross and Chris Ross.

That same evening, Collingwood council met in camera for an update on that Town's negotiations with EPCOR, which in addition to its interest in purchasing Collingwood's remaining shares of its hydro corporation, has offered to manage "the system and financing any water and waste water infrastructure renewal that may be required."

"Under the EPCOR proposal Collingwood Council would continue to set water and waste water rates and establish system performance measures including water and customer service quality," according to a press release announcing the negotiations last January.

Edmonton based EPCOR was also one of two for profit private operators bidding for a 25 year contract with Adjala Tosorontio to finance, build, and operate a new sewage treatment plant in Everett. Township council killed the RFP because of cost escalations throughout the process.

New Tecumseth enters the picture because of the 53 km pipeline connection between Collingwood and Alliston, and a deal for water supply that dates back to 1999. The two communities were in the midst of renogitating a long term arrangement, including terms for New Tecumseth to contribute a percentage for building a new, larger capacity water treatment plant.  In fact, a 12-point "principles to a new agreement" was reached last summer that recognizes "the current agreements and financial arrangements with respect to the supply of water by Collingwood to New Tecumseth are not sustainable in the long term," and entrenches "this will be a permanent water supply for New Tecumseth."

At the same time, New Tecumseth has initiated the process to connect Tottenham to the pipeline from Beeton to replace its groundwater supply.

Last November, New Tecumseth agreed to pay Collingwood $473,570 of the cost to replace a single train of membranes at the Raymond A. Barker Water Filtration Plant. The upgrade was to provide New Tecumseth an additional 500 cm/day as a short term supply boosting the supply to 10,000 cm/d. Collingwood is supposed to supply New Tecumseth with 13,000 m3/day with planned increases to 23,500 m3/day maximum day demand by 2030.

But because the water issue between the two municipalities has moved in camera, and predates the start of negotiations between EPCOR and Collingwood, it's not clear what the immediate impact is for New Tecumseth.

More details when they become available.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri
Dr. Cam

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