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Business Leader Summer 2018
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McElwain: ‘jubilation ended real damn quick’

by Mike Robinson

ELORA -  It looks like the spectre of the West Montrose Dam isn’t fading away.

The proposal has been on the books for decades, and  according to Centre Wellington councillor Kirk McElwain, the proposal isn’t going away any time soon.

At a Grand River Conservation Authority board meeting late last year, “I had a really good day ... when I discovered the GRCA was bringing forward a report on the West Montrose dam,” said McElwain.

Such a dam would be used to create a reservoir between Elora and West Montrose.

“The jubilation ended real damn quick,” McElwain said.

He explained that while the Region of Waterloo water supply plan currently has no need for the West Montrose reservoir - which is beyond the current planning horizon of 2050 - “there is a consensus with that working group that it is prudent to keep it as a future management option given the uncertainty of climate change and the continued growth of the watershed population.”

McElwain said it looks like Pilkington and Woolwich will be stuck with that area,  where no development can occur.

“It is unfortunate news because it is prime land,” he said.

He noted the hold on development has been in place since the proposal came forward in the 1930s - “so we are looking at 100 years of the land not being able to be utilized properly.”

The report presented to members of the GRCA states, “The Montrose reservoir project has been a proposed project since the 1930s as an option to provide flow augmentation and reduce flood damages.

“A number of studies in the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s evaluated the cost effectiveness of a new dam near West Montrose for water supply, water quality enhancement and flood damage reduction.”

The 1982 Grand River Water Management Study included a recommendation  that the Montrose reservoir lands continue to be protected for possible future water management purposes.


January 12, 2018


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