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County seeks $18.3M from provincial fund for water infrastructure

The County has applied for $18.3 million from the provincial government’s Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund (HEWSF) to support the construction of a regional water plant and a new raw water intake in Wellington.

The Ontario government last month boasted it is investing more than $1.8 billion in housing-enabling infrastructure funding to help build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031. This funding includes $625 million for the HEWSF.

Marcia Wallace PEC CAO

“We have submitted a strong application supported by our Regional Water Supply Master Plan, and the last several years of implementing the work of the Wellington Master Plan,” says Marcia Wallace, Chief Administrative Officer for the County of Prince Edward. “The projects we have put forward align with the government of Ontario’s commitment to enabling new housing creation with timely infrastructure. We are hopeful our application will be successful.”

A new regional water plant has been identified as the preliminary preferred alternative for servicing both Picton/Bloomfield and Wellington. The new plant would replace the two existing smaller water plants and provide the necessary capacity for new development in the municipality’s two largest urban areas.

A regional plant would also address the water quality and supply concerns with the Picton drinking water system, which the municipality mitigates through the treatment process.

“A regional plant located in Wellington offers a significantly better raw water source with fewer threats,” states Wallace. “In addition, the intake at a regional plant would be in a deeper location farther off shore, making the plant less susceptible to water level fluctuations.”

The preliminary cost estimate for the regional plant is $40 million and the new intake is $15 million.

The majority of these costs are to be covered by development charges or connection charges for the portion that supports new growth. The portion of these projects that benefits existing users would be paid for through water rates.

“Should the municipality’s HEWSF application be approved, the provincial grant funds would greatly reduce the benefit to existing portion of the costs, ultimately reducing the financial impact on existing ratepayers.”

Wallace add that attracting upper-level government funding is key to a fiscally responsible approach to building new infrastructure.

“Prince Edward County must make significant infrastructure investments in the coming years. Leveraging growth is a significant part of the strategy to minimize and ultimately reduce the impact to the water rates. ”

Short-listed options for water master plan pegged at more than $100 million

Filed Under: Local News

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