Centre Wellington approves hiring of water source consultant for region

Centre Wellington councillors have lent their support to hiring a county-wide professional consultant to identify potential threats and offer expert advice regarding source water protection.

The recommendation before council on June 29 was that it accept the proposal with the lowest cost and highest score.

The township approved the proposal by R.J. Burnside and Associates of Guelph, in the amount of $43,650, excluding HST.

The scope of work is for a qualified and experienced service provider to undertake outreach visits and field verification of threat activities identified pursuant to the Clean Water Act on properties within the boundaries of municipalities in Wellington County.

While officially hired by Centre Wellington, lower tier municipalities will share the cost for the work, which will also include expert advice pertaining to environmental engineering, hydrogeology, petroleum or Liquid Fuel Code engineering, nutrient management planning on an as-needed basis to Wellington Source Water Protection (Wellington County municipalities working in partnership).

This advice is anticipated to be in the form of review and advice on risk management plans and templates are being negotiated or written by Wellington Source Water Protection.

Officials anticipate properties receiving site visits include  those with industrial, commercial or institutional land use only, and the threat activities are therefore related to those land uses (i.e. fuel handling, chemical handling).

The township’s purchasing policy requires:

– council approval of any proposal having an expected value of more than $10,000;

– proposal unit values or contents not be disclosed and held in confidence;

– a selection committee is to be identified and will be responsible for weighing vendor responses using established scores identified in the proposal call, and;

– only the final contract awarded price of the successful proponent will be available upon award.

The proposal was advertised on the township’s website and the approved website www.opba.ca.

Thirty-four direct invitations were sent, 23 entities registered as bid takers on the township’s e-procurement website, and four firms submitted a response.

The bids were scored by a selection committee comprised of risk management official Kyle Davis, Township of Wellington North process compliance analyst Melissa Irvine, and Town of Minto drinking water source protection and building assistant Stacey Pennington.

It was the committee’s recommendation to award the proposal to R.J. Burnside and Associates, which achieved the highest score and lowest cost of $43,650, excluding the HST. Centre Wellington’s portion is $16,200.

The report to council noted that 2015 costs are funded by a grant from the Ontario Source Protection Municipal Implementation Fund.

Costs for 2016 and 2017 will be subject to budget approvals.

Davis, Wellington County’s source water risk management official, said the recommendation comes in relation to commercial, industrial and institutional properties.

The work is split into two components – the first, to be completed in 2015 using provincial funding, is in essence field verification and education including discussion with property owners regarding source water protection requirements.

The second part in 2016 and 2017 is the retention of expert advice in a number of areas relating to source water protection.

Locations and the number of properties being reviewed are as follows:

– Centre Wellington, 108;

– Mapleton, 8;

– Wellington North, 150;

– Town of Erin, 17; and

– Township of Puslinch, 8.

Davis noted the $43,650 is for the site visits in 2015 while the costs associated with providing expert advice in 2016 and 2017 would be subject to budget approval. He described the cost as “more of a retainer.”

Councillor Kirk McElwain asked about the criteria used to identify properties within municipal wellhead protection areas.

These include properties 100m from the well and a two-year time frame for the water to travel from the site to the well.

Councillor Fred Morris asked specifically what Centre Wellington’s portion of the cost was. Davies responded it is $16,200 – using provincial funding. The cost listed in the report was to undertake work in all five municipalities.

He noted Centre Wellington and Wellington North make up the lion’s share of the cost/workload in this phase.

McElwain asked if this includes areas where the township may be seeking new sources of water.

“At this point no,” said Davies.

The funding from the province is to deal with existing municipal wellheads, he said.

Nestlé water taking permit

Morris asked what happens should Nestlé’s water taking be approved.

“Is this something which would be studied by this consultant as a possible threat because of the potential amount of water which could be taken?”

Davies said this expert advice work is being set up as a request for proposal. He noted the consultant could be brought in since one of the areas of experts is hydrogeology.

However, Davies said the township already has its own hydrogeologist.

Council approved the recommendation.