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Campers upset permanent trailer site being removed from section of Elora Gorge park

by Mike Robinson

ELORA - There could be a lot of unhappy campers at the Elora Gorge park in the near future.

On June 26, councillor Kirk McElwain told councillors the GRCA has decided to close down a number of permanent campsites in the Lower Pines portion of the gorge park.

McElwain said those campers would be moved to another part of the park.

Trailers would move from a riverside venue to a location atop the hill - with some lots adjacent to Middlebrook Road.

“The residents there are not very happy, so we could end up getting a lot of negative feedback on that.”

At the GRCA board meeting on June 23, four delegations were booked to voice their displeasure with the GRCA decision.

The report to the board recommended constructing new fully-serviced campsites in Upper Pines (sanitary sewers, water  and hydro) at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.

 The move:

- eliminates current and future groundwater infiltration concerns;

- eliminates environmental risk regarding location of existing pumping station;

- allows the campground to continuing operating with sanitary sewers;

- maintains close to current revenue potential;

- provides flexibility for additional campground expansion in the future; and

- provides the opportunity to gain day use area and river access.

Cost estimates to simply repair or replace the existing sanitary system in the Lower Pines ranged from $1 million to $2.4 million but did not address aging hydro and water lines, nor potential environmental risks.

In 1986, the GRCA purchased an existing trailer park located adjacent to the Elora Gorge Conservation Area. This area is now referred to as the Pines Campground.

The original campsites were developed in 1983.

The on-site sewage disposal systems at Elora Gorge Conservation Area, including the Pines Campground septic system, are regulated by an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) that was issued by the MOECC in 2013.

The ECA recognized that the on-site sewage disposal systems at Elora Gorge had the potential to negatively impact groundwater.

Consequently, the ECA identified that the GRCA would work towards connecting on-site sewage disposal systems to the municipal system within a five year period or as septic systems fail.

That five year period expires in April 2018 and the GRCA is required to submit a work plan to the MOECC by July 18, 2017 outlining how the terms of the ECA will be met.

The Pines Campground is the last major section of Elora Gorge Conservation Area that needs to be connected to municipal services.

Continued use of the existing septic system in the Pines Campground would require a full environmental impact assessment including hydrogeological studies.

The report suggests, based on these considerations, connection of the Pines Campground to the Elora Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) would be the logical sewage disposal option. The GRCA has initiated discussions with the Township of Centre Wellington with regard to extending servicing to the Pines Campground. Preliminary analysis of predicted sewage flows indicates that the sewage capacity already allocated to the GRCA may be adequate to accommodate additional flows.       


July 14, 2017


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