By John McPhee
One councillor has expressed concerns over the possible financial impacts of The Clean Water Act.
“It’s frightening,” Coun. Anne-Louise Gibbons told council, after attending a source water protection seminar recently.
“Everything for source water protection comes down to the municipality,” she said, explaining that municipalities will be responsible for enforcement in relation to the water production, treatment and storage.
“In other words, implement of almost everything within the vulnerable areas and everything will cost the municipality money,” she said.
Those costs will include, but not be limited to:
• Assessing significant drinking water threats
• Establishing new land use planning procedures
• Amending Official Plans
• Negotiating and enforcing Risk Management Plans
• Annual reporting to source protection authorities
• Staffing, offices expenses, transportation etc.
While the province has been tight lipped on what it will fund, Gibbons said it will come down to increasing water rates, development charges, fees, and taxes.
“In other words, the burden is borne by rate payers of the municipality,” she said noting that Brockton also as one extra “identified threat” to source water.
While the province lists 21 threats, Brockton has the added nitrate issue.
Gibbons is also worried that implementation “must begin immediately upon approval of the Source Water Protection Plan which also set deadlines and reporting requirements”.
The approval date is the “effective date” and it may be summer/fall 2013.
She said that Utilities Manager Colin Saunders “has already started and has included a budget line in his 2013 budget, but he said the funds asked for was all guess work.”
Brockton Mayor David Inglis down played the concerns noting “we’ve always had the responsibility. I don’t think it will be that bad,” he said.
Discount policy needed
Coun. Gibbons wants council to come up with a policy on waiving or discounting rentals at municipal sites.
Her suggestion came last week after two requests for reductions at the Walkerton Community Centre.
Representatives of the Rotary Club of Walkerton went before council seeking a $1,000 reduction in the $3,280 cost (plus HST) it will be paying to rent the entire centre for four days in June of 2014 for a District Rotary convention.
“We’re expecting 350 Rotarians and their spouses will be attending,” said Nancy Baillie, a past president of the club.
Baillie noted that the Rotary club has pledged $100,000 toward the Brockton Medical Clinic and mentioned other projects and groups the club supports.
The convention, which will bring in delegates from across Bruce County all the way south to Michigan, will be held in Brockton in 2014 as local resident Don Moore will be District Governor that year.
Coun. Gibbons opposed giving any discounts.
“This opens the door to other requests,” she said, noting that council also had a request from Sacred Heart High School to waive the $80 an hour ice time fee at the arena for a 10-hour, two-day hockey tournament in support of The Wes For Youth Foundation in Walkerton.
Gibbons suggested council create a policy be made on dealing with such requests. “It has to come from somewhere, it’s tax dollars,” she said.
In discussing the Rotary’s request, Coun. Kym Hutcheon said they should “look at what it will bring to Walkerton”.
Mayor Inglis explained that council’s usual way of handling such requests is for the full fee be paid first and then council would donate the amount back (if approved) from its donations account.
The mayor said the Rotary’s request will be dealt with at budget time. Noting that “some assistance” will be provided.
Council also agreed to work on a new policy for such requests.