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Township agrees to new five-year deal with OCWA

by Patrick Raftis

MAPLETON - Council here has approved a new five-year contract with the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) to operate the township’s water and wastewater systems until Dec. 31, 2021.

OCWA has been providing water and wastewater servicing to the Township of Mapleton since 2002.

“The responsibilities of the service agreement have developed over the years into the comprehensive delivery of cost-effective and efficient operational and maintenance activities that not only provide safe and reliable production and distribution of drinking water to the community, but also provide environmentally friendly collection and treatment of the resultant wastewater,” stated public works director Sam Mattina in a report presented to council on Nov. 28.

The report indicates the proposed annual cost for the service renewal agreement translates to a monthly cost of $24,477.

“This is a reasonable fee to operate and maintain the system from an operational perspective,” states Mattina.

Councillor Dennis Craven suggested it would “more than likely be more expensive” for the town to operate its own system, when the cost of hiring and training staff and obtaining equipment was considered.

“Mapleton’s infrastructure in water and wastewater is not, at this point, large enough to sustain its own system. To have its own department to operate the system at this time would not be financially feasible, no,” replied Mattina.

The monthly cost to contract with OCWA translates to “$10 per person per month for safe clean water,” councillor Marlene Ottens pointed out.

“I think most people would think that’s a bargain.”

Interim CAO Murray Clarke told council that in light of “the complexities post-Walkerton in the compelling argument about the delivery of safe water,” and the relatively small number of users on the local systems,  “it really is, for Mapleton, a most efficient and affordable solution.”

Craven asked about the possibility of looking into forming a joint operation with a neighboring municipality that runs its own system as a possible way to reduce costs.

Mattina responded that “proximity to the system is important, especially emergency response.

“It’s not a feasible alternative. It would still mean additional staff, additional equipment, additional administration - those factors do not go away.”

While noting, “Staff would not recommend that at this point of time,” Mattina said staff could look into the possibility of a joint operation if council requests it.

Councillor Michael Martin pointed out past deals with OCWA have generally been for a three-year term.

“What was the motivation to go to a five-year deal?” Martin wondered.

“It’s a set price for five years …. It’s in our best interest for budget purposes and the best rate for the consumer,” replied Mattina.

He added a longer deal also reduces the possibility of the deal expiring before renewal can be arranged.

He pointed out OCWA is currently operating under a one-year extension of the previous three-year deal, which had expired.

 

December 8, 2017

 
 

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