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Construction could start by 2023 on $60M water plant expansion

Any development requests between now and 2025 will have to be considered through the lens of a restrained water supply: CAO
The Collingwood water treatment plant is located at Sunset Point.

The town has nearly completed its selection of a firm to design the expanded water treatment plant. 

According to the latest update provided by staff to council, there were four successful bidders in response to the town’s request for proposal. Once interviews and evaluations are complete, the town will pick a winner, launch public consultation on the design in the winter, and finish the design in the fall. 

The town expects to put out a request for construction bids in the spring of 2023. The expansion should be complete by the end of 2025/ beginning of 2026 and it’s possible there will be an additional chlorine tank installed as early as 2023, but that has not been confirmed yet. 

The expansion is expected to cost about $60 million, according to CAO Sonya Skinner. 

“It’s a massive project,” she told council during her update on Monday. 

Staff have been asked to provide updates at every council meeting. 

In addition to the work toward plant expansion, the town is undertaking a third-party review of its chlorine dosing practices to find out if it can increase the chlorine dosing to produce more water capacity from the plant. Staff is also investigating the possible installation of UV filters to increase the water treatment plant output. 

In the meantime, the town has put a blanket moratorium on issuing new building permits to conserve the remaining capacity at the water treatment plant. 

“With our chlorine maximized at the plant, we do have several years of growth available, but not enough to get us to the 2025 plant expansion at the current rate,” said Skinner. 

The moratorium, which is in the form of an interim control bylaw, is in place for up to a year. 

In addition to working toward plant expansion and possibly fast-tracking an additional chlorine treatment tank at the plant, the town has hired a consultant to review its planning policies. 

If and when the moratorium is lifted, the town will still be grappling with limited water treatment capacity that will not keep up to the trends in increased growth demands in the area. 

“The land-use planning study will recommend how the town can approve regular building permit (and other planning) approvals, in the context of a restrained water supply for several years,” explained Skinner in an email to CollingwoodToday. 

She said staff are trying not to pre-judge the potential outcomes of the study, but she does assume there could be a water allocation policy included in the study’s recommendations. 

The water treatment plant can handle the current demands of existing homes and those that have already obtained building permits. 

And with an additional chlorine tank, Skinner said the plant could handle between 800 and 900 more single dwelling units (SDUs). 

The SDU calculations assume about .75 cubic meters per day for a single-detached home. Therefore, different units could require less than one SDU. 

For example, an apartment is calculated at 0.66 SDUs for water capacity. 

Town council is accepting applications from developers and local landowners for exemptions to the moratorium as staff have confirmed there’s room in the water treatment plant capacity for 863 more SDUs. 

Skinner said consideration for exemptions both now and after the interim control bylaw is lifted will be focused on developments that “has a good assurance of providing a complete community.” 

Exemption applications are due to the town by June 18. You can find more information on the exemption process on the town’s website here.

The moratorium currently in place doesn’t apply to building permits for work that doesn’t require additional water usage or water hookup. For example residential renovations, new decks, and similar projects.