Council requests meeting with infrastructure minister

ERIN – Town council has officially requested that Ontario Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott meet with Erin Mayor Allan Alls and CAO Nathan Hyde to discuss provincial funding for the town’s proposed wastewater system.

A unanimous resolution passed at the Jan. 14 meeting states there is a “pressing need for provincial funding to help transition the town from septic systems onto a wastewater treatment system. This will help facilitate a healthy environment, allow the decommissioning of 5,000 septic systems that are polluting the ground, and assist in the rehabilitation of aged infrastructure.”

The town recently received approval for the system after more than 10 years in the environmental assessment process.

While new development will pay for a large portion of the project, the town does not have sufficient debt capacity to provide wastewater to existing homes and businesses while keeping costs affordable.

The town is hoping for two-thirds funding from the provincial and federal governments, though it also has the option of forming a public-private partnership to obtain private investment.

Without significant outside funding, the system may be built initially to service new development, with existing homes and businesses added later when sufficient funding is available.

According to an October 2019 Wastewater Servicing Financing Options Study, construction of the sewage treatment plant would cost $23.2 million for phase one, rising to $67.2 million by the end of phase four.

A full wastewater collection system (pipes and pumping stations) for Erin village only would cost $10.7 million, including $7.8 million for new development and $2.9 million for existing residents.

To add a Hillsburgh collection system would cost $9.7 million, including $7.5 million for new development and $2.2 million for existing residents. Included in the Hillsburgh estimate is the $4.7 million shared cost of a forcemain along the Elora Cataract Trailway to transport wastewater to Erin.