CORNWALL, Ontario - Queen's Park is looking for more details from municipalities in Glengarry County about the benefits of accessing drinking water from Cornwall, before it commits provincial money to the mammoth project.
During the recently completed Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa officials from the Ministry of Infrastructure, including Minister Glen Murray, met with leadership from the city, as well as North and South Glengarry, about the $60-million project.
Murray and his ministry are looking for clarification on things like the economic spinoffs of such a scheme before signing off on funding 90 per cent of the project.
Mayor Bob Kilger told Seaway News there's no secret that communities in North Glengarry, like Maxville and Alexadnria, are in dire need of a clean source of water.
"The government realizes, on the most fundamental level, that there is a need for the water," he said. "There's a serious issue related to private wells out there."
North Glengarry chief administrative officer Dan Gagnon told city councillors earlier this year his municipality spends 10 times the amount Cornwall spends to treat its water.
He added some businesses truck water in to their facilities, including Maxville Manor which spends $95,000 a year on water.
“That water is in great demand for new and existing businesses,” said Gagnon. “This is a critical investment for Glengarry County and the City of Cornwall.”
Cornwall and its municipal partners in Glengarry are on the cusp of a water-sharing agreement that will include a pipeline from the city and a series of pumping stations that will create a long-term source of drinking water for rural residents.
The project will not cost the city anything, though it will be able to bill its rural partners for the water it receives, as part of a cost-recovery plan.
The city is expected to sign on to a 50-year partnership with its rural neighbours in Glengarry County, which includes a 20-year option.