CORNWALL, Ontario – Thirsty residents in Glengarry County who have waited for years to gain access to an effective source of drinking water can finally fill their glasses with greater ease.
Councillors in Cornwall Monday night approved a water-sharing agreement with its neighbours in North and South Glengarry that will provide access to the city’s vast supply.
For years Glengarry residents, especially those in Alexandria and Maxville, have been plagued with water access problems. Some senior care facilities truck water in every week for staff and residents.
“They’ve been having lost of problems up there, and if we can help them, that’s great,” said Coun. Andre Rivette.
The new agreement is expected to provide the city with $687,000 in additional revenue when the system begins running at full capacity.
All costs associated with building infrastructure for the new system will be borne by the townships, who will then become customers of Cornwall's water supply.
“We’re not paying anything whatsoever,” said city CAO Norm Levac.
The move was applauded by other around the council table.
“This is a great project,” said Coun. Denis Thibault. “What we’re actually doing is trying to make a deal with a pair of municipalities to develop a certain level of trust.”
Last year city hall turned down a request to have South Glengarry use part of the city’s water supply for an industrial park it is creating.
The water for the project approved Monday night is for residential use, and could prove lucrative over the long term.
"The estimated water demand for the initial phase is 982,945 cubic metres per year, growing to 1,616,585 cubic metres over the next 20 to 50 years," reads a city hall report. "Therefore, at today’s rate, revenue would be about $417,000 in year one, and increasing to about $687,000 when the network is extended to all locations."
Computer modelling of the network determined that Cornwall's water system could supply current and future needs for Cornwall and the regional service area including a possible 580-acre expansion of the business/industrial area in Cornwall north of Highway 401.
“All the modelling exercises…all indicate the system is capable of handling that flow for 50 years,” said Stephen Wintle, the city’s infrastructure manager.
Drinking water in parts of North Glengarry, specifically Maxville an Alexandria, has been a problem for years.
North Glengarry has spent significant time and resources looking at options to provide a reliable, efficient supply; however, no adequate source within the municipality has been identified. Alternatives were considered to develop a regional system with water supplied from a neighbouring municipality. South Glengarry agreed to partner creating a larger project and lower individual costs although the water volume proposed for the initial phase is approximately 80 per cent for North Glengarry’s use.
The Glengarry regional water system proposes a service area which includes Alexandria, Maxville, Martintown, Apple Hill, Dominionville, Glendale, and Green Valley.