Norfolk County and the province are discussing the possibility of solving the development freeze in Port Dover through the installation of temporary water-treatment facilities.
On Nov. 17, developers who have been labouring under a moratorium on new construction offered to help pay for the installation and maintenance of temporary treatment facilities until the county resolves its capacity issues at the town’s water treatment plant.
In a note to Norfolk council on Dec. 4, Jason Godby, Norfolk’s interim general manager of public works, said staff members have taken up the matter with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). The ministry would have to sign off on alternative service-delivery models that deviate from the county’s provincial permits.
Godby holds out the prospect that delayed projects in Port Dover could proceed in the new year. This depends on strategies Norfolk might take to increase processing capacity while repairing failing clarifier units at the town’s treatment plant on Nelson Street West.
“With the ongoing clarifier replacements, consideration has been given to what additional work can be completed to restore additional water capacity,” Godby says in his update. “While we do not anticipate a speedy process to restore the plant to its full-rated capacity, staff are hopeful we may be able to bring the capacity up to five million litres a day, which would meet and exceed our current maximum day demands.
“While this work is not expected to result in the removal of the development freeze in Port Dover, this may allow for the building restrictions to be removed. This could mean that — while the county will no longer be in a position to approve new developments — we may be in a position whereby previously approved developments can be fully constructed.”
Norfolk County imposed a moratorium on new development proposals in Port Dover last year after concluding the town’s water treatment plant cannot keep up with demand during peak periods of usage. This has implications for the county’s ability to fight fires in town and the surrounding countryside.
The county is weighing its options while the development community cools its heels and absorbs losses arising from stranded infrastructure and debt payments on the same. Prospective residents of Port Dover who have pre-paid for homes are also frustrated with the situation.
Norfolk is looking at resolving its water problems in Port Dover through the construction of a water main connecting the town to Haldimand’s massive treatment facility in Nanticoke by way of Jarvis. The estimated cost of running a 14-kilometre pipeline from Jarvis to Port Dover is in the range of $18 million.
Norfolk and Haldimand staff members have discussed the possibility of expanding the Haldimand water network for more than a year. Tuesday, Haldimand council will discuss whether the idea is feasible and whether it is worth pursuing a partnership with Norfolk.
If Haldimand is interested, Norfolk will learn early in the new year how much the county would like to charge for the delivery of potable water.