“It’s pretty darn exciting,” says Carma Williams, councillor for Maxville, about the approved funding for a municipal water system in the town.
Last Friday, the provincial and federal governments announced funding to bring in a municipal water system to the town. The feds are putting in $15.2 million, about half of the total cost; the other half is split between the province and the Township of North Glengarry.
“A long time coming”
Williams says problems with Maxville water date back to the 1980s. Originally the town put in a sewer system thinking septic tanks were contaminating people’s wells, but that didn’t really make a difference.
“The groundwater in and around Maxville is just poor quality for one, and there’s also very little of it,” says Williams.
About ten years ago, a new push came to look at solutions for poor water quality. Williams, whose been councillor for about six and a half of those ten years, says they’ve already had about four environmental assessments for prospective projects. The closest to come to fruition was four years ago when there were plans for a regional system with water coming in from Cornwall. But Williams says the province backed out after seeing the $64 million price tag attached to the project.
In the last year, North Glengarry went back to the drawing board to find a cheaper option, but also to solve it once and for all.
To do so, the township hired lobbyists.
“This was a first for us and our last shot,” says Williams. “It was taking a bit of a chance, to be honest with you.”
On Monday evening, Maxville hosted a town hall meeting to share the information with residents.
“We told people what we know and a whole bunch of what we don’t know, which includes where the water will come from,” says Williams.
Over the next month or two, she says the environmental assessment process will kick in and help determine where Maxville will get the water, either from St. Isidore or Alexandria.
Williams says pipes will be going underground in Maxville at the same time the assessment is being done. The town will be using the same infrastructure proposed during the Cornwall plan from four years ago since it was already engineered and “shovel-ready”.
Right now, Williams says there’s “virtually no water on Main Street.” Many businesses and residents need to truck in water.
While not on Main Street, according to Williams, Maxville Manor would spend about $100,000 per year on bringing in water.
She says the new water system will help grow the area, which has seen population decline in the past few years.
“Water is honestly vital to people’s personal lives,” she says. “And the fact that in this day and age we don’t have it is just mind boggling.”
The project was approved under the federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. A second project to upgrade the Alexandria Lagoon Facility was also approved.