WEB ONLY: Council hears 2008 Wellington North works department review

It has been a busy year, but Welling­ton North works committee chairman Dan Yake believes a lot was accomplished.

Yake said the department has made similar presentations over the past few years so the public can see what has happened in the past year.

“Two major undertakings highlighted the 2008 works projects,” he said. “The new Mount Forest disposal plant was substantially completed and put into full operation by the end of November. This included converting the old disposal plant into a pumping station.”

The township obtained grants from the federal and provincial governments; each contributed one-third of the cost for the $16-million project. The work is expected to come in under budget and the contractor will complete the project in spring.”

He said anyone who had not had the opportunity to see the plant in action should try to do so. “It’s quite a good facility and should serve the community well.”

“The second major project was the complete reconstruction of the Mount Forest downtown core (also known as The Big Dig) from Birmingham to Queen Street, (three blocks). The contractor reached substantial completion of two blocks in December and they plan to return around the end of March to complete the project by the end of June.”

Yake said workers should be able to proceed quickly this time because one of the main hurdles last year was the intersection crossing.

“The township received $1.17-million from the provincial government for the $3-million project through the Connecting Link funding program,” he said. “We have also applied for funding to complete the last section of Highway 6 that is eligible under the Con­necting Link program (from Queen Street to the southern limit of Mount Forest).”

Yake said Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Funding grants of $129,333 was approved for the replacement of Bridge 25 on Sideroad 8, just east of Concession 9.

“This $70,000 project was delayed a year due to environmental issues but was also completed in November.”

Yake said, “In 2008, the township was also approved for up to $535,000 in funding through the Ontario Infra­struc­ture Investment Initiative (MII) to complete water and sewer projects in Arthur. Those had an estimated value of $550,000 which included replacing a watermain on Tucker Street, extending water and sewer services west along Wellington County Road 109 from the liquor store to Charles Street, and looping the watermain under the river on Charles from County Road 109 to Francis Street.”

He added that in 2008 the department replaced the gravity sanitary sewer and forcemain on Frederick Street, from Edward to George Streets to eliminate a major bottleneck in the system that was contributing to basement flooding.

“It seems to have help alleviate the problems.”

This work started in 2007.

Rural projects included resurfacing the top block of Concession 11 with asphalt and resurfacing Line 12 between County Road 14 and County Road 16 (three blocks) with tar and chip using stone from the municipal pit to reduce cost.

He believes the move worked well and the contractor said that it was some of the best stone he had worked with.

A number of bridge railings had to be repaired or replaced due to damage after being hit by vehicles or farm equipment.

One of those, the municipality received some insurance for. The vehicle was still at the location when the damage was discovered.

Princess Street was built in conjunction with the new Mount Forest arena and Indus­trial Road was extended to accommodate new businesses. We also resurfaced Durham Street West, Henry Street, Kind Street East, and a portion of London Road.

He said, the department’s equipment purchases included a new Cat grader including attachments to replace a 1986 grader, and 50% of a John Deere tractor which is used to blow sidewalks and is shared with the recreation department during the summer. That unit replaced a 1995 Kubota tractor. A valve exerciser trailer which includes a small vac system to be used for water service repairs was purchased for the water department.

“It’s an amazing little unit. The department is quite pleas­ed with it.”

As well, water and sewer staff have been working to implement the Drinking Water Quality Management System (DMQMS) which the municipality must have in place by June, he said.

Yake added there is also ongoing involvement in the Source Water Protection Plans and with the GRCA regarding sewage spills and bypass issues that include the Conestogo River watershed and involves the Arthur disposal plant and pumping stations.

He added, the department continues to be responsible for maintaining and completing burials at the Mount Forest cemetery as well as maintaining the rural cemeteries that are now closed to burials.

In 2008, engineering and site preparation began at the site of the future works, water, sewer yard on Preston Street in Arthur.

“This land is owned by the municipality and will replace the current Arthur works yard, provide a proper snow dump site and eliminate the need for the water and sewer department to rent storage space from Wellington North Power. A firm completion date has not been set for the project, but we’re continuing to use our own labour and equipment to get this started.”

Yake said the department continues to utilize township labour and equipment whenever possible to complete maintenance projects in-house. Rural grass cutting, road gravelling, entrance installations and snow removal are a few of our annual maintenance operations that have added to staff involvement in major projects, and made 2008 a very busy year for the works department.

He said, “To meet our future needs it is imperative that we continue to train staff, plan for and engineer future projects so we can utilize any and all available funding to move the township forward in 2009 and beyond.”

He added the works staff do a wonderful job in extreme conditions.

“They do it with care and make sure its done right.”