Grey Highlands council will participate in conversations with its neighbours about the possibility of forming a regional utility to provide water services.
At its meeting on Nov. 15, council voted unanimously to accept an invitation from the Town of The Blue Mountains for the mayor and CAO to participate in conversations with other local municipalities about the concept of a regional water utility.
The letter from The Blue Mountains CAO Shawn Everitt was addressed to Mayor Paul McQueen and CAO Karen Govan. The letter invites Clearview, Grey County, Grey Highlands, Meaford, Simcoe County, Collingwood, New Tecumseth and Wasaga Beach to a joint meeting on the regional water utility topic. The Blue Mountains has offered to host the meeting, which it would like to hold before the end of the year.
“I am requesting confirmation from each of the above noted municipalities to determine whether a representative from each municipality and county would accept the invitation from The Blue Mountains to meet to discuss the potential opportunity to consider a regional approach to the provision of municipal water to the residents of Southern Georgian Bay,” Everitt states in the letter.
Council supported participating in the meeting, but Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen expressed some reservations.
Nielsen pointed to the largely rural boundary between Grey Highlands and The Blue Mountains that would not lend itself well to water servicing extensions.
“I have concerns with how it would play out considering the geography of the boundaries,” said Nielsen.
Coun. Nadia Dubyk said the concept of “more conversations on a regional basis” was “positive” and could lead to ideas for increased and better purchasing power and economies of scale.