August 27, 2014

SSMP report recommends sewage system

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Final Report of the Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (SSMP) is now in the hands of Council, after $1 million in research and debate about the Town’s future, and it recommends further study of sewers for Erin village and Hillsburgh.

The need for a study on servicing and growth was identified in 2004. It finally started with a public meeting in 2009, and will end with a public meeting next Tuesday, September 2, at the council chambers. The following week, Council is expected to decide on a preferred strategy and whether to accept the recommendation for further environmental assessment.

The 220-page Final Report by consultant BM Ross (plus six appendices) can be downloaded at It includes a five-page executive summary that outlines several options and a series of recommendations.

It urges the Town to provide water and wastewater services to all existing and future urban residents and businesses. Rural areas would be unaffected, but septic systems and private wells in urban areas would eventually be eliminated.

If approved, the SSMP report is intended as the primary tool to help Erin build a case for government funding, a process that could start immediately. The capital cost could be $58 million for traditional sewers, plus about $7 million in water system upgrades, but the Town does not have enough borrowing capacity to consider such a venture. It would require grants covering 60-66% of costs to make it possible.

Doing the work in extended stages, inclusion of private financing, use of a performance-based contract and adoption of alternative technologies could make the project more financially viable, but those decisions will be made later.

The report discusses the option of excluding Hillsburgh from servicing, but says this would be harmful, concentrating businesses, services and about 2,500 of new population in Erin village. The report also recommends against the Big Pipe option (directing sewage to other towns) because it would spur intense population and business growth and be contrary to existing rules on discharge to the Great Lakes.

The report outlines the consequences of keeping things as they are. It estimates urban homeowners would pay a total of about $30 million over the next 25 years to replace or upgrade septic systems (at $20,000 each). Many lots are too small for standard systems and would require more expensive treatment. Some lots are too small for any new system and some retail properties are dependent on holding tanks.

The lack of sewers is making it difficult to attract new businesses to Erin, restricting existing businesses that may be forced to leave and limiting the availability of moderate-cost housing for young families, singles and seniors.

Remaining on septics is likely to result in a municipal inspection system to ensure that systems on private property are pumped regularly, and repaired or replaced if not functioning properly.

It is possible that Erin could revert to some housing development with septic systems on larger lots – a trend that helped prompt the SSMP. This would require special permission from the province, since it is not the preferred method of development. There had been concern about the impact of septic systems on the river, but that has turned out to be relatively low.

If the Town is not building a sewage system, a large developer could theoretically do an environmental assessment and build their own. The Town would have to approve the size and location of a subdivision, but could end up owning and operating the developer’s treatment plant – and adding new modules to service existing homes in the future.

Council has voted to reserve sewage capacity for the 4,500 existing urban residents. Had it not done so, developers would be eager to use it.

Completion of the SSMP ends an official freeze on new subdivisions that has lasted 10 years in the Official Plan, but development will still have to wait for a detailed sewage plan. The SSMP is expected to be used as a guide when
 Council revises the Official Plan and allocates growth.

As a result of the SSMP, which protects the West Credit River by limiting population growth to 1,500 people (500 homes), there is not nearly enough sewage capacity to satisfy the plans of developers.

Council could decide to split growth between Erin village and Hillsburgh. About 20% of the growth has to go to infilling existing neighbourhoods. Council may set aside some of the growth capacity for commercial and industrial projects – perhaps another 20%, the report says. A small portion of the sewage treatment capacity would be used for septage from rural septic tanks.

Solmar Developments, which had hoped to build about 1,200 homes, has objected to the Town reserving sewage capacity for existing residents. Other landowners on hold during the SSMP include Manuel Tavares (800 units in Hillsburgh), Jim Holmes, owner of Erin Heights Golf Course (173 units as of 2001), and Gary Langen, with land on the west side of Eighth Line.

Appendix C of the SSMP has correspondence from developers and community groups Concerned Erin Citizens and Transition Erin, with summaries of Public Meetings and Liaison Committee meetings. Other appendices include a Background Report, a Problem/Opportunity Statement, a scientific Existing Conditions report by Credit Valley Conservation, and cost estimates and financial analysis by Watson and Associates Economists.

Looking Back - The blessings of British liberty

As published in The Erin Advocate

From the Advocate – 100 years ago (1914)
The Canadian War Parliament was opened in Ottawa with a Speech from the Throne from the Duke of Connaught, who said, “The critical period into which we have just entered has aroused to the full the patriotism and loyalty which have always actuated the Canadian people. United action to repel the common danger will not fail to strengthen the ties that bind together those vast dominions in possession and enjoyment of the blessings of British liberty.”

Parliament plans to authorize $50 million in war spending, prohibit the redemption of Dominion notes and gold, and impose special war taxes on coffee, sugar, liquor and tobacco. Distillers and brewers who have emptied their warehouses to avoid war excise taxes will find that they are retroactive to August 7. The government plans to publish the names of all women who refused permission for their husbands to serve their country.

From the Advocate – 45 years ago (1969)
Doug Kirkwood, an employee of the Bell Telephone Company in Oakville and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Kirkwood of Erin, received a Certificate of Achievement from the St. John Ambulance for saving the life of a teenage boy injured in a hockey game through his knowledge of first aid.

The Erin ball club made a strong showing in three recent games, ending up tied for first place at the end of the season. On Monday they were down 5-0 to the defending champs, but Wally Brennan pitched an uphill battle, leading Erin to a 9-8 victory. On Wednesday, Don Hall pitched the first no-hitter of the season for a 9-0 win. On Friday, Harry Smith and Brennan fought hard and held onto an 8-8 tie.

The As We Were column recalled August, 1944, when Dave Mundell bought the property on the west side of Main Street across from All Saints Church that housed Holtom’s Bakery and Longstreet’s Meat Market. He also bought the adjacent lot that had remained vacant since the Queen’s Hotel burned down in 1913, and was expected to build new stores there. Erin still had no fire department, and would not establish one until after the Globe Hotel burned down in 1945.

From the Advocate – 35 years ago (1979)Erin District High School is spending $6,800 to build brick walls in place of some classroom windows that needed to be replaced. Property Superintendent Mel Gilmour said significant energy savings would pay for the work in just 3.5 years. “There will still be more than adequate light in the classrooms,” he said.

Dave and Liz Balmer are moving quickly to open a new pizzeria, Imperial Pizza and Submarines, after Ralph Ciccia closed his due to vandalism problems. Liz said people have to stay in town and improve the situation. “If not, we’ll have tumbleweeds rolling down Main Street and this will become a ghost town,” she said.

Erin Reeve and Wellington County Warden Larry MacKenzie will stand as a candidate for the provincial Liberal Party nomination in Wellington-Dufferin-Peel. He’s up against Dave Wright of Erin and Elbert van Donkersgoed of Drayton.

From the Advocate – 25 years ago (1989)Erin residents used their cars to block a truck from dumping the remains of two demolished Toronto houses on a vacant lot north of Ballinafad. Pat Cranstone said residents had kept a vigil at the suspicious site, then trapped the truck when it returned. The OPP confiscated the truck and the MOE plans to lay charges.

Erin Township is spending $6,800 for a consultant’s report on how to revitalize the downtown area of Hillsburgh. Councillor Barb Tocher is promoting the plan, which includes interviews with business people and community groups, plus a public meeting to help set future priorities.

Strategic Plan takes aim at quality targets

As published in The Erin Advocate

The first draft of Erin’s Corporate Strategic Plan includes commitments to sound fiscal management, efficient operations, high quality municipal services and maintaining the attractive character of the community.

Councillors got their first look at the Plan during a special meeting on Monday this week, with a presentation by its author, Joanne Russell-Haas of The Human Factor. She is an Erin resident with experience in staff training and development of strategic plans in other municipalities.

The draft will be posted at Residents are invited to send comments and suggestions to Clerk Dina Lundy, and the final version of the Plan will come back to Town Council for approval on September 9. The time frame for the plan is 2015 to 2020.

“We are in the process of making pretty significant decisions about where Erin is going, where the priorities will be and how resources will be allocated,” said Russell-Haas, who did more than 60 hours of interviews with staff, councillors, community groups, business groups, school principals and social service providers.

A set of recognized values creates reference points for corporations when they need to make tough decisions, she said.

“All of us have a responsibility. There’s a broad spectrum of people involved, and if we all pull in the same direction, and we all have a clear sense of what that is, then there seems to be more success. Never say never. There are things that need to change, and they can.”

Monday’s meeting was well-attended, with several residents making positive comments about the Plan. Mary Venneman, who co-chaired the Town’s Equine Task Force, suggested greater emphasis on “overarching accountability”, possibly including an Annual Report to the taxpayers.

Building on the Vision Statement from the Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (process, the Strategic Plan sets out a series of Guiding Principles for Town operations.

These include transparency and integrity – dealing with public money and issues “in an honest, open and ethical manner.” There is a promise of cooperation, valuing contributions from citizens, councillors and staff, to “celebrate success and handle our differences with respect and professionalism.”

By adhering to best practices and quality service standards, staff are expected to maintain expertise in their professions and serve the public interest, capitalizing on opportunities and mitigating risks.

The Town will be expected to develop innovations that are both cost effective and environmentally focused, plan its operations to maximize efficiency and safety, and seek partnerships with volunteers and businesses to “support the overall quality of life for our residents and the economic viability of our Town.”

The plan includes a suggested Corporate Identity Tagline: “Erin, where you feel naturally inspired and genuinely at home.”

Now that the Strategic Plan is almost complete, the Town is proceeding with an Operational Review, hiring a consultant to study detailed improvements that could be made in various departments.

EWCS celebrates 30 years of caring

As published in the Erin Advocate

East Wellington Community Services is marking its 30th anniversary with a look back at its humble origins and a party to inspire renewed commitment to the future.

The public is invited to join current and past volunteers, board members and staff for refreshments at the Erin Legion on September 8, at 7 pm. Activities will include a Blasts from the Past slide show hosted by Children’s Services Manager Marlene MacNevin, who has been with the agency 28 years. RSVP to Tammy at 519-833-9696.

The guest speaker will be Joe Roberts, a former homeless skid row addict who turned his life around to become an author and the CEO of a successful Canadian company. He is a professional motivational speaker and an advocate for at-risk youth.

The idea of a local agency to provide services to rural and village residents in the Erin-Hillsburgh-Rockwood area started with a meeting of citizens in 1983 at the Legion Hall. In 1984 they opened the East Wellington Advisory Group (EWAG) Multi-Service Centre and Info Erin at All Saints Anglican Church.

“We felt that our community had fallen between the cracks of the service delivery system and that it needed something of its own,” said founding President Kasia Seydegart, in an article on the agency’s history. “The pivotal issue in our community was lack of resources for children and teens. EWAG had to bring the services to the people rather than bring the people to the services.”

Over the years, EWAG became part of the community fabric, recruiting an army of volunteers to share their talents, and earning broad support from residents, businesses, service clubs, governments and churches. It was built on the principles of easy access, coordination of various services, local management and opportunities for people to learn and contribute.

Here are just a few highlights of the agency’s initiatives and partnerships over the years: the Info Erin Directory, the Nearly New, Bookends, Again and New to You Stores, Panda’s Place, Erin Child Care Outreach (now Ontario Early Years), Employment Services, the Seniors Day Program, services for active seniors including recreational programs, the 109 Club and day trips, the Rural Women’s Shelter Program, a van and a lift-equipped bus, the Eramosa Seniors’ Resource Centre and the Toy Lending Library in Rockwood, free computer/internet access, United Way support, the Food Bank and Christmas Hamper programs and the launch of the East Wellington Family Health Team medical centre.

The registered charity changed its name in 2009 to East Wellington Community Services, with offices at 45 Main Street in Erin (where a series of partner agencies also provide services) and at 106 Church Street in Rockwood, and extensive information available at

With the recent loss of youth programs at Erin Hoops / Main Place, EWCS is conducting a survey of youth to find out what services they would like in the community and how the agency could help. It is available through the East Wellington CS Facebook page or at

Many of EWCS programs get government funding, but local contributions of time, money, food, equipment, clothing, skills and services form a major part of the agency’s support. Fundraising efforts range from the retailing of clothes and books to the annual Golf Tournament, the High Tea and High Heels event, the ongoing bottle drive, and even wine sales through The Little Grape That Could. Financial support can be raised through hosted events, given personally at the offices or online through the Canada Helps website.

“Donations are essential – they really keep the agency thriving,” said Erika Westcott, Manager of Marketing and Fund Development. “We have a real relationship with the community.”

So if you have never had any connection with Community Services, or if it’s been a while, please give it some thought. Sooner or later, you or someone you care about will benefit from this network of support.

Captain Canada rides to victory

As published in The Erin Advocate

Photo – Phil Gravelle
Canadian Olympic equestrian Ian Millar, 67, clears the first jump in a fault-free ride to win the Champions Grand Prix competition at Angelstone Farm in Erin on Saturday. Riding Star Power, the horse with whom he competed at the 2012 London Games (his 10th Olympics), Millar won $30,000. Liubov Kochetova of Russia picked up $22,000 in second place. Millar’s son Jonathon received $3,000 in eighth spot, one of ten other riders splitting prize money that totaled $100,000. There will be an identical purse under the lights this coming Saturday, August 30, when Angelstone hosts the National Grand Prix. The farm is located on County Road 50 west of 1st Line, and admission to all events is free.

August 25, 2014

Pan Am Games an opportunity for tourism

As published in Open for Business Magazine – Dufferin County

Headwaters Tourism is urging businesses and residents to provide visitors with an enthusiastic welcome to “Horse Country” – especially when they arrive next summer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.

“We need all of our community members to be tourism ambassadors, so we actually have a culture of hospitality when visitors arrive from around the world in our area,” said Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association (HHTA) Executive Director Michele Harris.

The equine industry is already recognized as a prime driver in the regional economy, with marketing that includes Dufferin, Caledon, Erin and King Township, but when the Pan Am Games Equestrian Competition is held locally, promotional efforts will move into high gear.

The Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave will handle the dressage and show jumping events. It is being renovated with the help of $6.8 million from the federal government.

Will O’Wind Farm in Mono will host thousands of spectators for the one-day cross-country competition. The 5-kilometre championship course will have 30-35 jump efforts, such as water features, drops and log jumps.

“The Town of Mono is excited to welcome the world to our community, and showcase the best of rural Ontario,” said Mono Mayor Laura Ryan. “Hosting the cross-country equestrian event at Will O’Wind will further position our region as a centre of equine excellence in Headwaters Horse Country and provide a lasting legacy for our community.”

The Toronto Pan Am Games will be bigger than the Vancouver Olympic Games, with 20,000 volunteers helping to host the 7,600 athletes coming to Southern Ontario. The television audience is estimated at 380 million households.

“We have a tremendous story to tell,” said Harris, stressing the need to put the equine brand on the area and create a “Pan Am Legacy” to produce lasting benefits in other sectors of the economy.

“Often it doesn’t take a whole lot to up the ante and become a destination. We need you all to spit and polish your door handles. We want to push memorable experiences for visitors. They experience the competition, and then what?”

The Headwaters Pan Am Strategy says, “The Games will provide opportunities for us to highlight the other visitor experiences available in the region, that make Headwaters one of the province’s most sophisticated rural tourism destinations, just a short drive from the country’s largest urban centre.”

Specific initiatives will include prominent signage on area roads. There will be promotion of local food, arts, culture, trails and heritage locations. Contests will be held to choose a signature equine image, a signature food and a signature drink for the area.

“It’s not just what people experience while they are here, it’s also what they get to take home,” said Harris. “I’d like them to have the recipe to take home, so they’re always thinking about Headwaters, and have a reason to come back.”

Even businesses that do not rely primarily on tourists – gas stations, for example – can ensure that staff members make a good impression on visitors. Headwaters will have an ambassador training program available for front-line staff throughout the region.

“We need to promote a culture of tourism,” said Harris. “It’s all about importing money to our community, and those dollars circulate in our own economy.”

Headwaters is one of the most concentrated equestrian regions in Ontario, with premier horse breeding farms, coaching and training facilities, riding schools, boarding stables, equestrian ranches, suppliers (including farriers, veterinarians, feed, bedding and tack shops) and a range of equestrian events.

HHTA also wants to boost the equine export market, working with Equine Canada to bring in people from around the world to see what local breeders have to offer.

“We’ve had to become a destination marketing organization,” said Ron Munro, Chair of the HHTA, at a Tourism Symposium for local businesses and organizations held in March at the Best Western Inn & Suites.

“We’re here to help you re-invent yourselves. If you want people to come these days, you have to have an experience. It has to be worth their while to leave the comfort of their living room.

“We’re taking all the experiences that we can get in our region, and trying to knit them together to give people a compelling reason to get out of the house, go somewhere and experience something.”

HHTA does not have a budget for major advertising, but provides extensive information at, and helps coordinate the efforts of local businesses through working groups. It cooperates with Central Counties Tourism, the agency that markets a broad zone that includes the Headwaters communities, plus the Regions of Durham and York.

August 20, 2014

Bacon Night could be a new camping tradition

As published in The Erin Advocate

We got lots of hiking done last week, and we didn’t have to wear bells. You may have heard that some people advise wearing little bells to scare off bears while hiking. And of course you need to watch for bear droppings – the ones with the little bells in them.

We’ve been camping with a group of friends from the Georgetown area for the last 20 odd years, since our kids were little. We haven’t seen a bear yet, but we still stash our trash in the vehicles at night, to avoid tempting the local raccoon population at Point Farms Provincial Park.

There were 27 of us (plus dogs) on five campsites last week – four generations, including a newborn, a bevy of short people, a gaggle of medium to well-dones and a great grandmother.

We still use a tent, but most have retreated to the comfort of trailers. To facilitate this escape to nature, there were various stoves, fridges, furnaces, televisions, a mini trampoline and sufficient acreage of tarps to ensure that torrential rain would only be a minor inconvenience. The campfire light blended nicely with the glow of cell phone screens.

We had our traditional outings to mini-golf and historical Huron County Gaol, and knowing that the Goderich Walmart was only a short drive away brought a feeling of security. I also managed to get in a little book larnin’, thanks to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

As usual, things alternated between loud and laid back, with everyone mostly doing their own thing. Except of course for a possible new tradition, known as Bacon Night. It could be called a "pot luck pig-out", though this term is perhaps disrespectful to the providers of the bacon.

The main dishes were:

• Bacon burgers, of course

• Caesar salad

• Fresh pole beans (from my organic garden), with cubed barbequed back bacon

• Bacon-wrapped potatoes, with cheese and sour cream

• Spaghetti à la Carbonara, with bacon cooked in wine

• Devilled eggs, sprinkled with bacon

• Mashed cauliflower casserole, with you know what

• Bacon-wrapped barbequed shrimp

• Pork sausage meat, rolled in strips of bacon.

Someone forgot to bring the bacon-flavoured vodka, but like true woods people, we adapted quickly and passed the bottle of Sambuca around.

Surviving Bacon Night without undue gastronomic distress requires some discipline. Know your limit. Eat within it. And then have some dessert, which in this case was bacon dipped in chocolate, then drizzled with more chocolate.

So there you have it, a fine escape from day-to-day affairs. My only regret is that I had to miss last week’s Town Council meeting. I hear it was intents.

Looking Back – Canada to hold prisoners of war

From the Advocate – 100 years ago (1914)
Canada will be called upon to care for Great Britain’s prisoners of war, with many expected after the war to take up homesteads in the West. It is predicted that airships will decide the outcome of the war, with the major powers having invested $100 million in this military technology over the last three years. In Canada, Bell Telephone says that employees who are sent to the war front will have their positions held for them, and that their dependent families will receive half-pay during their absence.

From the Advocate – 45 years ago (1969)

George McGregor and Bob Davis are planning to open the new Davis & McGregor Store in Erin this week, next to Erin Gift and Variety. They will be selling furniture, Philco Colour TVs, McClary electric appliances and Mr. Slumber Sleep Products (as seen on TV). There will be free roses this weekend for the ladies and candy for children (when accompanied by an adult).

Brian McFarlane of Hockey Night in Canada will be the special guest at the Erin Minor Softball Tournament to be held at the Erin Public School grounds in September.

Village Council has placed a number of new trash containers on Main Street, donated by local garages, in an effort to reduce the mess created by pop bottles and waste paper.

The Christian Women’s Fellowship met at the home of Mrs. Dan Gray, with an opening poem from Mrs. Douglas McKinnon. A parcel of bandages was prepared for Jackman Memorial Hospital in Bilaspur, India, where Alice Porter is located.

From the Advocate – 35 years ago (1979)
Erin businessman Ralph Ciccia has decided to close Stella’s Pizzeria on Main Street after vandals vomited all over the restaurant window and his car, let air out of his tires and urinated around the area. He said OPP officers are at times afraid to confront the groups of kids on Main Street, and that the street turns to mayhem at night, with cars racing up and down. “Anyone wanting to start a business here has to be crazy,” he said. Reeve Larry McKenzie said he would be requesting an increased police presence. In a letter to the editor, David Balmer, whose own store was broken into once and vandalized twice in the past month, said business people need protection from “The Zoo”.

Erin’s baseball team won a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Glen Williams. All 17 innings were pitched by Ken Steen, with key contributions from Kevin Richardson, Mike Weston and Greg Topp.

From the Advocate – 25 years ago (1989)

A Fire Marshall’s inspection has forced the closure of the Erin Agricultural Society’s dance hall on the upper level of their building on Main Street, and the cancellation of the annual Craft Show and Sale. The Children’s Fair and the Fair Queen’s Reception are also in jeopardy, and the Fair Dance has been moved to Hillsburgh. “This has put us in a bit of a bind with the fair just six weeks away,” said President Jim Reid, predicting it will take “a helluva pile of money” to bring the building up to code.

Erin Village is considering the purchase of a personal computer, even though accounting staff say they are not ready to convert. Councillor John Pritoula said it would help the office become more efficient. He said it should have a large enough storage capacity – 60 to 80 megabytes – so that more software packages can be added without modifying the system.

An Erin Advocate editorial says Finance Minister Michael Wilson has gone too far. Editor Scott Kline says the 9% sales tax on almost all goods and services will grab about $24 billion each year from Canadians, “strangling everybody’s pocket book to the point that people can barely afford to live.”

August 13, 2014

Water system upgrades key to servicing plan

As published in The Erin Advocate

Improving Erin’s water system will cost considerably less than building a sewer system, but it will still be an expensive item when the Town’s servicing is upgraded.

The Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (SSMP) Liaison Committee met recently for the last time. They’ve learned a lot about the community’s problems over the last five years, but have never reached a consensus on what should be done – especially with growth now limited to about 500 new homes.

The SSMP Final Report was to be available this week, with the study expected to wrap up after a Public Information Meeting on September 2

Town Council may decide on September 9 to proceed with the next phase of environmental assessment (EA). That will mean spending money to investigate various sewer options, without actually committing to build a system.

Erin does not have the borrowing capacity to build a traditional system unless it gets grants to cover more than 60% of the cost. It will need a detailed plan in order to apply for grants, and the EA will be valid for 10 years.

The water part of the puzzle was explained to Liaison members by Matt Pearson of consulting firm BM Ross. He said even with no growth, Erin has a ‘water deficit’. That means the municipal water supply system does not have an ideal capacity.

After five years of 20% rate increases, making Erin municipal water very expensive at $4.08 per cubic meter, BM Ross says there is still not enough “firm capacity”. That is the ability to maintain adequate supply even when the largest well in one area is out of service.

There is considerable redundancy, since the Town has two wells for the Hillsburgh system and two for Erin village. BM Ross Engineer Dale Erb said there have been some occurrences when the firm capacity is exceeded, but that it has not been common. Project Manager Christine Furlong of Triton Engineering said exceedances of firm capacity do tend to occur in smaller communities.

The SSMP will recommend that private wells be shut down in urban areas – 110 in Erin village and 230 in Hillsburgh. The Town has suspended its Water System Connection Fee until June 30, 2015 to promote more use of the water system, but many Hillsburgh residents have no access to water mains.

To provide water to all residents, even with no growth, BM Ross recommends that the unused Bel-Erin well, just south of County Road 124 on the Ninth Line, be brought back into service. They also recommend replacing the Hillsburgh Heights well, which currently requires treatment of water to remove naturally-occurring lead, and adding reservoir storage.

To supply all existing residents, plus 250 new homes in each urban area, Erin village would need the Bel-Erin well, plus an additional well. Hillsburgh would need additional storage and another well, in addition to replacing the Hillsburgh Heights well. If all 500 new homes went to either Hillsburgh or Erin village, similar but slightly larger upgrades would be needed in the community getting the growth.

Interconnection of the Hillsburgh and Erin village systems is being evaluated separately. It would be expensive, but it would increase redundancy and reduce the number of additional wells required in the future. The Erin water tower could not provide pressure to Hillsburgh, which has a 30-metre higher elevation.

The total capital cost of the fully-built water plan is $6.7 million in the split-growth scenario, $5.4 million for Erin only and $5.0 million for Hillsburgh only. The variation does not affect existing residents, but the system becomes less costly for developers if new homes are clustered in one community.

The greatest share of water improvements (especially new wells) would be paid through growth – $4,418 for each new home if the growth is in Hillsburgh only, $5,158 each for Erin only and $7,798 if it is split.

There would be a charge of $984 each for existing connected homes, and $4,550 for existing unconnected homes. A 15-year municipal loan of $4,500 at 3.25% would cost a homeowner $380 per year. If grants are provided for the water system, costs will be proportionally reduced.

Looking Back – War sparks riots

As published in The Erin Advocate

From the Advocate – 100 years ago (1914)
Following the announcement that Great Britain had declared war on Germany in response to the invasion of Belgium, a mob in Vancouver B.C. stormed the German consulate, smashing all the doors, windows and furniture. A similar riot occurred at the German embassy in St. Petersburg, Russia. In Ottawa, the government will deliver a gift of one million bags of flour to England to relieve shortages and stabilize prices. A group of German reservists from Canada was prompted arrested when their steamship docked in Avonmouth, England. Off the coast of Holland, 130 British marines died when their cruiser was sunk by a German mine.

From the Advocate – 45 years ago (1969)
Well-known area farmer Smith Edward Griffin died recently at the age of 100. The family has operated its farm in Erin Township since 1838. He has exhibited continuously at the Erin Fall Fair since 1912 and at the Royal Winter Fair since it started in 1922. His potato fields were among the first to be selected as certified potatoes when the system was adopted in 1914, and in 1967, received the Master Seed Potato Growers’ Award.

The oldest contestant at the 19th Annual Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest in Shelburne was George Davis, 86, of Erin. He took along his dog Tip, who also did a crowd-pleasing routine.

Terry Gregson represented Erin District High School on a tour of Western Canada by Wellington-Waterloo students, known as the Young Voyageur Program.

The “As We Were” column recalled the 1944 meeting where the Hillsburgh Band was formed, under the leadership of Band Master James B. Tarzwell and Chairman Alex McLachlan.

From the Advocate – 35 years ago (1979)
Construction is proceeding on the new St. John Brebeuf Catholic School, with the placement of modules on concrete foundations. Principal Andrew Beaudoin will be on the job August 20. New teachers will include Mary McGoldrick, Arlene Ransom, Barbara DeAngelis and Jo Ann Hayter.

The oldest contestant at the 29th Annual Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest in Shelburne was George Davis, 96, of Erin. He attended with his wife Myrtle, and with Mr. and Mrs. Norris Sinclair of Erin and Miss Dorothy McKinnon.

Erin’s liquor store was broken into for the 14th time in its 10 year history. Employee Ken Graham said thieves kicked in a window and grabbed what they could reach. The liquor was valued at $23, but it will take $400 to replace the window.

Kathy Bailey of Erin will compete for the Miss CNE Queen of the Fairs Crown this week. Hosting the show will be TV personality Gene Taylor and Jacquie Perrin of CFTO, a former Miss Dominion of Canada.

From the Advocate – 25 years ago (1989)
Erin Township council has rejected a request to reduce the speed limit from 80 to 50 kph on the section of 17 Sideroad just west of Hwy 24 to the Eighth Line. A petition from 22 citizens, was presented, with a letter from Wilson Belford who said people are distressed with the dangerous speed of vehicles on the road. Roads Superintendent Tony Wagenaar admitted that speed is a problem, but said it is a haul route and may not have enough volume to justify a reduction. Clerk Murray Clark will ask the OPP to step up radar patrols in the area.

After three years of political and bureaucratic wrangling, construction has finally started on the 43-lot Hillsburgh Heights subdivision.

August 06, 2014

More delays for rebuilding Winston Churchill

As published in The Erin Advocate

An ongoing series of roadblocks continues to delay reconstruction of Winston Churchill Boulevard north of Terra Cotta – a project that would benefit Erin commuters, but one in which they seem to have little influence.

Paving of this short stretch of gravel road has been discussed for many years, with Peel Region advancing a “final” plan at a public information session five years ago. Improvements would make the road safer by lowering the hill south of Ballinafad Road, but there has been opposition from Terra Cotta residents who want to discourage commuter traffic through their village.

Construction was to have been last year, but with a slow approval process, budget deferrals and ongoing concerns about costs and impact on the environment, it now appears that it won’t happen until 2017.

Peel Region maintains this border road and will pay half the cost of reconstruction (estimated at $4.1 million in 2012), with Wellington County and Halton Region (or Halton Hills) sharing the balance. It is Peel’s only unpaved regional road.

Erin Mayor Lou Maieron says Wellington expects Winston Churchill to be “our main north-south arterial road heading into the GTA”, and so he has protested the recent installation of stop signs at Olde Base Line Road (where the gravel starts) and at Ballinafad Road.

Maieron says the preferred commuter route appears to be south on Winston Churchill, then east on King Street through Terra Cotta to Mississauga Road, Hwy 10 and Hwy 410. Drivers in the south part of Erin can access Winston Churchill more easily now that 5 Sideroad is paved. Caledon Mayor Marolyn Morrison has said that those drivers should be turning east on Olde Base Line Road to get to Mississauga Road, instead of going through Terra Cotta.

“Erin’s population has the highest commuting rate in Wellington County (80+%), mostly travelling south for employment,” said Maieron, in an email message.

“If Winston Churchill is truly to be a county/regional arterial road – i.e. a road that moves goods and people efficiently and effectively – then reducing the speed limit and installing new all way stops appears to be contra-indicated. This will greatly reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of this costly regional road re-development.

“We would appreciate seeing Winston Churchill upgraded as soon as possible. Currently Erin residents are utilizing a myriad of local roads and gravel road combinations to arrive to Highway 410, and most of these roads are not County Roads. A good arterial road system is paramount to achieving greater progressive economic development for Erin.”

The project already has approval through an Environmental Assessment (EA), and design work that include storm water controls and avoidance of sensitive environmental areas is about 60% complete. But the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) has lodged a new objection, saying development cannot be allowed in the habitat of endangered plants and animals.

“This conflict is as a result of new endangered species legislation enacted subsequent to the EA approval,” said Peel Project Manager Solmaz Zia. “Peel staff is planning to meet senior staff at NEC to explore other options to move this project forward. It is scheduled to complete the detailed design in the winter/spring 2015, property acquisition / utility relocation in 2015 & 2016 and commence the construction in 2016/2017.”

Then there is the complication of getting all the partners to agree on the cost. Peel and Wellington do not appear to have a problem with it, but in Halton there is concern.

“This is a complicated piece of road and I would love to see it finished,” said Halton Hills Regional Councillor Clark Somerville in a recent email to area politicians. 

“The section in Halton Hills was going to cost the Town over 2.5 million to rebuild (it may have been more!) for a road that has over 80% of its traffic originating in Peel. I know the Town has been in discussions with Halton Region to see if we can get this one done. It can’t be to the present suggested standard as it is beyond what we can afford for it.”

Looking Back – Austria captures Belgrade

As published in The Erin Advocate

From the Advocate – 100 years ago (1914)
The Servian capital Belgrade has been occupied by Austrian troops after a gunboat bombardment. A dispatch from Ottawa says the war will have little impact on Canada’s economy, with wheat farmers expected to benefit from increased prices. The European powers have placed large coal orders for their navies, but U.S. mills and mines fear there will be labour shortages if Austro-Hungarians and Servians in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are called back for military duty. Meanwhile, the president of a German steamship line said in an interview that England and France have no reason or inclination to get involved in the war.

From the Advocate – 45 years ago (1969)
A service was held at the Weddell Funeral Home in Erin for Mrs. Robert Trathen, the oldest resident of Belfountain. Born in England, she came to Canada as a bride after the First World War, initially raising her family on a farm on the 5th Line and later living with her son Sidney.

The “As We Were” column looked back at the Advocate from August 1944. Hillsburgh potato dealer Fred McMillan had just shipped 350 bags of new potatoes to the Department of Munitions and Supply for the armed forces. Three months earlier, he shipped three train carloads and several truck loads of the old potatoes.

From the Advocate – 35 years ago (1979)
Norm and Paul Dray set up a fundraising toll stop at the south end of Erin village, asking drivers to make donations to the Erin Community Centre construction project. The total cost is $760,000 and $201,000 has to be raised locally. The toll effort brought in $2,000 leaving just $8,000 more to be raised by the end of the year.

Consultant Bruce Donaldson has asked Township Council to allow his client, Mann Construction, to convert their wayside gravel pit to a commercial pit. He said this would allow gravel to be sold to the public at Lot 26, Concession 1.

Rev. Katharine Michie was inducted into the charge of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Hillsburgh and Bethel Church in Price’s Corners, by Brampton Moderator Peter Barrow. She is one of only 30 women ordained since 1968.

The “History’s Scrapbook” column looked back at the Advocate from August 1929. James and John Gooderham of Alton were found guilty of operating an illicit still, which had been seized in their barn. Give a choice of a $200 fine or six months in prison, they paid the fine.

From the Advocate – 25 years ago (1989)
A 33-member delegation from the East Wellington Advisory Group for Family Services packed the Village Council chambers to protest a bylaw that would stop the group from renting out facilities at a proposed new building on Highway 24 near 7th Line. Ian McGibbon said the group would not be able to host or sponsor activities as it presently does. Reeve Terry Mundell said council does not want competition among meeting halls.

Sarvacc Investments has proposed building a four-storey Senior Retirement Village on Dundas Street in Erin. The project would accommodate 80 to 100 units, and planner Robert Nykyforchyn said centralized services would include a lounge-style restaurant, a reading room, a laundry service and an exercise room. Reeve Terry Mundell was concerned about the impact on the village well.