Why do we need a wastewater system?
There are significant benefits to residents, businesses and to the future of Erin.
Installing a wastewater system will allow us to undertake measured development over the next 20+ years that is essential to the future of Erin, it will also have positive effects on the economy.
This is growth that we need – growth that we will see gradually over the next two decades. We expect our urban population to increase from 4,415 residents to between 7,000 to 10,000 by 2040.
Being able to welcome more residents and businesses means additional tax dollars to help us replace or maintain the infrastructure we rely on every single day.
Also, we currently rely on aging septic tanks and systems that are outdated when compared to systems in other towns across Ontario, and costly to repair. Once the septic systems begin to fail – which is happening in our case – it can be harmful to the environment.
The new system will support the needs of the community by removing the reliance on the existing septic systems.
The development of the system will allow for growth over time, in a smart and thoughtful way that protects the values we hold close.
Are there risks associated with a system?
The risks of not building the system far outweigh any risk of building one.
For example, we currently rely on aging septic tanks and systems that are outdated when compared to systems in other towns across Ontario, and costly to repair. Once the tanks begin to fail – which is happening in our case – it can be harmful to the environment as pollutants like nitrates and phosphorus can leak into water streams affecting local fish habitats or even our drinking water sources.
Many residents of Erin take the time to maintain their septic tanks – an effort that is necessary. However, any tanks that are not maintained regularly will increasingly become an issue that will impact everyone in the Town.
Further, without the project our local businesses will struggle to exist as the costs of pumping and trucking waste will continue to mount.
Without the project, we will not be able to accommodate smaller homes for our seniors, and new starter homes to welcome young families.
We need measured growth and a new system would help bolster our local economy and create more opportunities to share the tax burden and keep our community thriving.
What will the system mean for residents of the Town of Erin?
In the shorter term, the system will take the place of aging septic tanks that are costly to repair and harmful to the environment.
In the longer term, it will allow Erin to undertake measured development over the next 20+ years. This means we could increase funding to our schools – one of which is currently suffering at only 36% capacity – and we could open new schools to provide our children with more opportunities to succeed.
We could welcome more businesses to town which would provide more options for you to shop local. We could build new starter homes for our young families, or smaller affordable homes for our aging population.
You can look at this cost as an investment in your property – similar to a kitchen or bathroom upgrade, you will see the value of your property increase with this new system. A new system that you can rely on and one that is better for the environment.
What will the system mean for businesses in the Town of Erin?
In practice, the lack of a wastewater treatment plant means that our local businesses – the heart and soul of our town – will struggle to exist as the costs of pumping and trucking waste mounts. Currently the Town’s sewage is transferred to Collingwood, which not only increases the cost of disposal but is not a long-term solution and will not be available as an option forever.
Because of our existing waste systems, we are not able to welcome and accommodate new businesses.
As a community we will find balanced, smart, and sustained growth that will provide long-term benefits without compromising the values we hold close.
What will the cost be to residents of the Town of Erin?
Developers are paying for all costs associated with growth- the costs of building the wastewater treatment plant and main trunk lines, as well as an additional $7,000 per single detached equivalent (this is above and beyond the significant development charges). Rural residents will not be financially contributing to the construction of the project.
The costs that exist for residents in the Village of Erin and Hillsburgh are: the connection from their house to the main system, the construction of local infrastructure (i.e. the pipe that will run through the road and associated repair work to the road), the decommissioning of their existing septic tank system, and an annual service fee once the project is complete.
With that said, the exact cost to each household will be determined by the additional funding grants received by the federal and provincial governments and each specific property.
The government has said they will not be stopping construction projects because of the COVID-19 pandemic as they help with job creation and driving the economy.
We remain optimistic and council is in regular communication with provincial decision makers.
Also, we are committed to making the project as affordable as possible. This means, among other things, offering long-term payment plans as an option available for residents.
Learn more about costs here.
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