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Tottenham water a topic of debate at council meeting

January 25, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Eric Penkala

Tension was high in the council chambers Jan. 9 as Tottenham resident Nancy McBride voiced her displeasure with the town’s plan to fix the water problem in her community.
McBride told council that she had filed a Part II Order with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, which would lead to further investigation of the town’s proposed solution.
The town’s plan involves extending the Georgian Bay water pipeline, which already services Alliston and Beeton, into Tottenham. The pipeline would serve as a primary source of water for the community, with blending of water from the Tottenham wells taking place when the pipeline water is in shorter supply.
McBride addressed council to explain why she felt this plan was not good enough for the community, saying that unless the pipeline water capacity was greatly increased from the plant in Collingwood, not enough water would make it to Tottenham.
“If we don’t have any extra water from a new plant in Collingwood,” McBride told council, “we’re really not going to get any water coming from Alliston and Beeton.”
McBride fears that this plan requires too much reliance on the Tottenham well water system, which contains high levels of trihalomethanes, iron, lead and chlorine.
“The idea of a pipeline coming to save us is, I believe, a lot of smoke and mirrors,” said McBride.
Councillor Chris Ross openly disagreed with McBride’s statements, saying that the town’s plan was carefully researched and provides the best possible solution to Tottenham’s water problem. He stressed the fact that blending Tottenham well water with the pipeline water would significantly reduce the level of chemicals, and expressed his frustration with McBride’s order causing another delay in the project.
“It’s very disappointing when I see a report like this, to tell you the truth,” said Ross. “Very disappointing that one person could stop what a lot of people have done to put the ball in motion.”
The ministry will decide whether to follow through with the Part II Order within the next eight to 12 weeks. If the order does go through, the project’s estimated completion date of 2020 could be delayed by up to two years.

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