Stokley: Conestogo dam funding model still unclear

Until the GRCA gets an answer from the province, local councils are unlikely to know how much they will need to pony up for work on the Conestogo Dam in Mapleton Township.

At an earlier meeting, Puslinch council raised a red flag on the costs since, as a member of the watershed, it would be expected to pick up some of that cost.

In a letter to the municipality, Jane Mitchell, chairman of Grand River Conservation membership committee, thanked council for its interest.

Mitchell said the dam is located in the constituency of Minister of the Environment John Wilkinson. She also met with Linda Jeffrey and the Minister of Natural Resources.

Mitchell said Jeffrey has supported conservation authorities in the past and asked if there is a way to mitigate the costs of building the spillway since the MNR requires that work to be completed by 2015.

“Two days after lobbying, MNR came out with the long-awaited technical guidelines for dams and dykes.”

While Mitchell stated there may be hope for building the spillway at a lower cost, she still encouraged local municipalities to lobby local MPPs.

Councillor Wayne Stokley agreed the letter spoke of the potential of a lower cost, but still didn’t address the township’s earlier question on the funding model for the project.

At a previous meeting, councillors had voiced concerns if funding would come from the levy or an addition cost on top. He wanted additional information on the costs.

Lever said from the email from Mitchell it seems the GRCA is trying to convince the province to “step up” to fund a major portion of the project.

“I would expect that once the decision is known one way or the other, we will be approached about a funding model,” Lever said.