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Water/sewage servicing allocation policy coming soon to TBM

New policy would replace 'first-come, first-served' method the town has used to allocate services for many years
The Water Treatment Plant in Thornbury.

The Town of The Blue Mountains will soon have a water and wastewater allocation policy.

Council held a public meeting on May 14 to consider a new town policy that would govern the allocation of water and wastewater services to future development.

The proposed policy would replace a “first come, first served” model that the town currently uses. In its place would be new guidelines for handing out water and wastewater service reservations as the community continues to grow.

If council approves the policy, an evaluation criteria would be created and each proposed development would be judged by a committee of town staff. Committee decisions could be appealed directly to council.

Developers would submit an application for servicing for their projects that would hinge on a development agreement being reached with the town. The applications would be reviewed based on a number of criteria with points being awarded by town officials for how well the project meets town goals and priorities.

“The town is facing increasing pressures on water and wastewater,” said project consultant Jonathan Derworiz. “You want to shift away from the first come, first served policy.”

The town and its consultants studied a number of comparable communities that have allocation policies in place now including: Collingwood, Brantford, Vaughan and New Tecumseth. The town also held a consultation with the Georgian Triangle Development Institute on the proposed policy.

The town plans to decouple the policy from the Planning Act, which would eliminate appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal on allocation decisions. The policy would be implemented through the Municipal Act.

Town planning director Adam Smith said the proposal is about governing service allocations, but can also be used to guide developers towards town priorities.

“It’s a good thing to do. It’s about encouraging better development outcomes,” said Smith. “This policy is an important tool. The first come, first served model hasn’t been suitable to our needs.”

The public meeting on the matter did not generate any public opposition and the proposed policy was greeted favourably by members of the public and council.

“I’m just delighted we’re bringing this forward,” said coun. Paula Hope. “This policy gives the town many more tools.”

Local resident Pamela Spence also was pleased.

“I’m very excited to see this coming forward. I encourage this to move forward with good and thorough review,” said Spence.


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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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