Haldimand County finalizes Water Supply Agreement with Norfolk

Haldimand County finalizes Water Supply Agreement with Norfolk

By Mike Renzella

The Haldimand Press

HALDIMAND—Councillors in both Haldimand and Norfolk counties have voted unanimously in favour of finalizing a water supply agreement that will see Haldimand supplying water to Norfolk County by 2026.

“This is a fantastic project as far as I’m concerned, that we can export water long-range and our customers spread out the cost,” said Ward 6 Councillor Bernie Corbett.

The agreement includes a supplemental rate calculation that addresses the cost of new infrastructure construction, operating costs, phasing, governance, and water supply volumes. It also contains a list of four financial principles that are designed to ensure neither county ends up subsidizing water costs for the other, including operating cost recovery, lifecycle cost recovery, upfront capital costs, and administrative cost recovery.

“I think it’s a win-win for both municipalities and potentially our neighbours on Six Nations and beyond,” said Ward 1 Councillor Stewart Patterson, before questioning why the agreement does not include set rates for providing the service to Norfolk. “Are we tying our hands or tying Norfolk’s hands … when I read page 3 of the report, towards the bottom, it reads everything’s hunky-dory, we’ll go forward, then we’ll determine the rate somewhere down the line…. Should we not have discussions about that at this stage?”

Tyson Haedrich, General Manager of Engineering and Capital Works, explained the reasoning, noting that a calculation has been completed, producing a rate in 2022 dollars, “however the water is not going to be turned on until 2026, and we know how things have changed in the past year or so.”

He added, “Four years down the road we’ll still have the same principles. We can’t calculate a rate right now, but we do know how it will be calculated.”

According to Haedrich, there has been no Provincial or Federal support for the project yet.

“With a major project like this, I would’ve expected our MPP of the day to put forward something in favour of it. To this date we’ve had nothing along those lines that would help both municipalities,” said Corbett, addressing Haldimand’s previous MPP Toby Barrett and its newest MPP Bobbi Ann Brady. 

“There was an opportunity for a grant under the green stream funding program, however the majority of that money was diverted by the Province into the COVID recovery fund, so the project limits were capped at $5 million,” said Haedrich, noting that as the project moves forward the County “will continue to look for opportunities for Federal and Provincial funding but right now, the funding has been approved by Norfolk to build the infrastructure.“

Mayor Ken Hewitt said that Norfolk’s public commitment to the project puts Haldimand in a good position to ask for support from the Province: “As the Province announces its new cabinet and we get into a new cycle, there will be some infrastructure money that is available. They’ve made it very clear that infrastructure, roads, and highways are a priority.”

Hewitt continued, “I think that this project will fall right into that…. I’m encouraged by some of the conversations we’ve had that there is support out there for this; it’s just a matter of getting the right people in play…. Stay tuned.”

The mayor added that he is in the process of putting requests to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Municipal Housing and Affairs, “and a couple others as well.”

Currently, the rollout of services is being planned in three phases. The first, expected to be complete by 2026, will see the construction of a transmission system with two connection points, Simcoe to Townsend and Port Dover to Nanticoke, with expanded water treatment capacities at the Nanticoke Water Treatment Plant reaching 10,000m3. Phase two will see the water supply capacity to Norfolk increase to 25,000m3 by 2031, and to 40,000m3 by 2041.

It is expected to help keep Haldimand’s water rates stable going into the future, due to the “economies of scale of a larger user base,” said the County report, which also notes that the diversified user base will reduce Haldimand’s dependence on large industrial users, and will “protect the County during recessionary economic cycles.”

Council support for the agreement was unanimous. To view the full County report, visit haldimandcounty.ca.