Is good planning going down the drain at City Hall?
On a whim, I decided to tune into the North Dundas Council meeting on January 25. It didn’t take long for me to hear something that made me fall off my chair.
Early in the agenda was the 2022 update on the ability to expand water and sewage systems for new residential and commercial construction. The update was short and sweet: “At this time, there is zero water and sewer allocation capacity for future developments.”
Wait…what? Surely I must’ve misheard. Yet there it was, confirmed in writing in the agenda package. And the only thing faster than the update from staff was the speed at which Council hustled along to the next item. No comments. No assurance that the matter is in hand. Heck, there wasn’t even a lame excuse about the dog eating somebody’s homework.
Now, I know that the growth experienced in our community in recent years has been steady, and keeping pace with the appetite for municipal services is a challenge at the best of times. Likewise, it’s worth celebrating that more folks want to live in Winchester and Chesterville and enjoy what they have to offer.
But it seems fair to ask – how does our Council find itself having to hit the pause button on new water and sewage permits? Roads, garbage, public utilities – overseeing these things is the basic job description of any municipality. The records for Council meetings in 2021 are heavy on approving remaining water and sewer hook-ups, but light on proposing solutions for meeting future demand for essential infrastructure.
Regardless of whether Councillors are asleep at the switch or are now playing catch up off-camera, the outcome is the same. Got plans for a new home or business in 2022 and want the water and waste to flow? Sorry, ain’t no more taps to go around.
When my wife and I moved our family out of the big city to North Dundas several years ago, it was a dream come true. Sadly, for many with similar ambitions, it seems that such hopes – at least for the time being – are just a pipe dream.