Essa says sewer expansion is good planning
By Brad Pritchard Barrie Advance Oct 03, 2012
BAXTER – Essa Township has responded to a letter from the newly formed Angus Ratepayer’s Association regarding the group’s opposition to having Baxter tap into the Angus sewer system.
The township CAO Greg Murphy and manager of planning Colleen Healy jointly responded to the group with their own letter, stating several reasons why the hookup is a good move and not “reckless” as the group has claimed.
The township dismisses the association’s claims that the move is contrary to smart growth policies under the province’s places to grow act and subsequent plans and amendments since it encourages growth in settlement areas already serviced by municipal water/wastewater systems.
While the association says the developers in Baxter should look at creating a localized servicing plan, the township notes that they did look for alternatives. However, extending a line from Angus will result in significant cost savings. The Ministry of Environment also encouraged the developer to tie into Angus instead of building a second treatment plant.
Unsubstantiated for the most part, the ratepayers stated a total of eleven reasons why the hookup is a bad idea.
The group also said the extension would put pressure on the township to approve more developments in agricultural areas and that it would deter future commercial and residential development in Angus. They claim having more residential development in Baxter would result in higher taxes for all township residents in order to provide more services, using the need for a new fire hall as an example.
The association doubts the 250 homes to be built in the Marshall Subdivision in Baxter will cover the long-term maintenance costs of the sewer extension and claims the residents of Angus will be forced to subsidize the rest, which they say they already do.
The township says otherwise.
“The municipality will collect a fee from all sewage system users to ensure long-term maintenance and replacement costs are provided for,” the township’s letter stated.
“The township of Essa provides municipal water to the residents of Angus, Thornton and Baxter. Residents of these settlements all pay the same water rate based on water consumption. Not one settlement area subsidizes the other are as they receive the same service for the same cost.”
The association also claims Angus residents make up for 53 per cent of the tax base, but according to the latest MPAC data, that number is actually 37 per cent.
The letter was submitted to the township in July, signed by Angus Ratepayer’s Association president Tami Harry.
The association formed earlier this year.