Originally published in the Wellington Advertiser on February 3, 2021.

Dear Editor:

The wastewater treatment facility will bring essential change to our community; and while I understand change can be difficult, our community relies on it.

Through this process, there are two fundamental values that have been front of mind: ensuring taxpayers aren’t carrying unnecessary costs, and facilitating growth in a measured and thoughtful way for the next 20-plus years.

It was with these values in mind that we consulted numerous reputable experts – city planners, economists and environmentalists – to help develop a plan that makes sense for our community. Among those is WSP, a leading engineering firm with an expertise in environmental solutions for projects like this.

With that said, community engagement was also vital during this process and was achieved through a variety of ways, including conducting a comprehensive community growth survey, stakeholder meetings, technical advisory group and steering committee meetings (including public members), social media posts, Erin Connection newsletters, the Erin Advocate, Wellington Advertiser and through the town’s website.

While in the process of consulting with experts and our residents, I heard concerns about the location of the wastewater facility, and the potential environmental effects resulting from the effluent. Addressing these concerns were at the top of our list when planning the project.

The plant will be located at Wellington Road 52 and 10th Line, and the proximity between the plant and residential areas surpasses the ministry’s requirement by at least double the distance.

The environmental assessments examined two separate locations, and this specific decision was made because of the immense reduction of impacts on the local environment. In fact, the environmental benefits of this location outweigh the costs of the project as the construction costs (paid by developers) are higher.

Right now, we have an opportunity to change our community for the better. As I’ve said before, the costs of not doing this project are high; we are falling behind and we need to make an investment into our community.

As we continue to plan and develop this project and hear our community’s views on its impact, I want to remind residents that this project represents years of thoughtful and strategic planning.

We are not rushing any decisions and both the community and experts have been consulted – and continue to be consulted – through this entire process.

I encourage residents to keep asking these important questions about the wastewater treatment system, and to learn more about the project by visiting www.wastewater.erin.ca.

Mayor Allan Alls,
Erin