At the direction of the 2010 Lambton Shores council, staff was directed to respond to over 200 unanswered questions that the public had posed with regards to the Grand Bend and Area Sewage Treatment Facility mechanical upgrade as well as the proposed lakeshore area sewer system expansion. The attempt to answer these questions was made by municipal Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Williams to council in his report, CAO Report 15-2014. This document can be accessed via the municipal website on the September 4, 2014 meeting agenda, under Item 11.1. Not all questions received an answer or a complete one. A significant number of questions still remain about these projects. OWCLA will continue to ask the tough questions and push for acceptable answers. Accountability and transparency should not be negotiable.
The following questions regarding the above named projects have been compiled from a list obtained through a number of meetings with local ratepayers associations, community groups, business people and property owners.
- What was the Lambton Shores population being serviced by the Grand Bend Sewage Treatment Facility (lagoons) in 2005? How was this number determined?
- What is the current population of that service area? How is this number determined?
- What criteria were used by Dillon Consulting in 2005 to support the need for a mechanical upgrade to the Grand Bend Sewage Treatment Facility lagoon system?
- Which Council resolution directed staff to engage the services of Dillon Consulting to produce the 2005 ‘Municipality of Lambton Shores Sanitary Sewage Master Plan’?
- When did the 2005 Ontario Provincial Policy Statement take effect?
- In what time frame was the 2005 ‘Municipality of Lambton Shores Sanitary Sewage Master Plan’ produced by Dillon Consulting? Which municipal staff participated in the project?
- Which Council resolution directed staff to engage the services of Dillon Consulting to produce the 2006 ‘Municipalities of Lambton Shores, Bluewater and South Huron Grand Bend and Area Sanitary Sewer Servicing Master Plan’?
- When did the municipality correspond with the County of Lambton to determine the feasibility of upgrading the Grand Bend lagoon system without implementing a mechanical treatment system solution? Where is a record of that correspondence?
- Did the Ontario Ministry of the Environment ever approve the original design of the GB and Area Sewage Treatment Facility mechanical upgrade first proposed between 2006 and 2008? Where is a record of that approval? What staff position of the Ministry would be responsible for granting approval?
- Which documents support the claim of environmental compromise from septic system failure in Zone 3 and any adverse impact on Lake Huron? Are they accessible to the public?
- What evidence does the municipality have that the Province will impose a central sewer collection system in Zones 3 and 4 in the future?
- Prior to 2011, why was such a significant sewage capacity allocated to Southbend Estates (whose draft development plan is still unregistered) without a sunset clause?
- What rationale did the municipality use to propose a central sewage collection system for Zones 3 and 4?
- At what stage of the development of a project such as the mechanical plant upgrade to the GB lagoon system is a Certificate of Approval granted?
- Does the Ministry of the Environment have an approvals body that oversees project applications such as the GB lagoon system upgrade?
- Given the statements made in Ontario Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley’s Summary of Key Issues in the fall of 2013, and the recommendations of the municipal Ad hoc Sewer Advisory Committee, why does the 2014 council continue to pursue a sewer system expansion for the lakeshore areas? How does the public access that information since it is not apparent on the municipal website?
- What scientific evidence does the 2014 council have to support a sewer system expansion?
- When will council inform the Minister of the Environment that they are ‘considering’ a sewer system expansion along the lakeshore area and what rationale will they provide to him to refute his staff’s findings in 2013?
- Does the municipality have the authority to overrule a Ministry decision and then ask for funding support?
- Is council planning to survey the residents of the target areas for this sewer system expansion, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to determine their level of support?
- Can the municipality provide information of the specific Ontario statutes, Planning Act sections or Provincial policy Statement references that support this direction to include the consideration of sewer system expansion for the lakeshore areas, regardless of an implementation time frame, in the Official Plan?
- Why did the mayor call a special council meeting for May 11, 2015 to discuss the 6th draft of the Official Plan with prior knowledge that two councillors would be unable to attend? If this meeting was considered to be urgent, why did it take until November 24, 2015 for council to approve the 7th draft?
- Did all members of council have the following information prior to May 11, 2015, in order to make an informed decision about sewer system expansion in the lakeshore area: the Ad hoc Sewer Advisory Committee 2012 final report, the Ontario Minister of the Environment’s 2013 letter to the municipality and his Summary of Key Issues, the fact that the 2010 council has withdrawn the environmental assessment for Zone 3 and amended the one for Zone 4, the University of Waterloo’s May, 2015 report on groundwater in the Southcott Pines area.
On Procurement and Purchasing Policy
- Why was the project for the original design and environmental assessment for the Grand Bend Sewage Treatment Facility, as well as the environmental assessment process for Zones 3 and 4, directly assigned to Dillon Consulting in contravention of Policy #20- 2002?
- Why was the 2005 ‘Municipality of Lambton Shores Sanitary Sewage Master Plan’ project directly assigned to Dillon Consulting irrespective of Policy #20-2002?
- Why was the 2006 ‘Municipalities of Lambton Shores, Bluewater and South Huron Grand Bend and Area Sanitary Sewer Servicing Master Plan’ project directly assigned to Dillon Consulting irrespective of Policy #20-2002?
- Why was the contract for groundwater quality testing in Zones 3 and 4 directly assigned to Golder & Associates irrespective of Policy #20-2002?
- On what basis or rationale did the municipality decide to use a low pressure grinder pump central sewage collection system for Zones 3 and 4?
- What was the overall anticipated cost for the originally proposed sewage treatment mechanical upgrade for the Grand Bend Sewage Treatment Facility including design, building and environmental assessment aspects?
- Was a revised environmental assessment necessary for the new downsized plant, and if so, what were the costs to the municipality associated with that?
- Why did the municipality not determine an overall cost for the low pressure central sewage collection system proposed for Zones 3 and 4 prior to supporting the need for the size of the originally proposed sewage treatment mechanical upgrade design for the Grand Bend Sewage Treatment Facility?
- What was the proposed project management fee to build the original design mechanical upgrade for the Grand Bend Sewage Treatment Facility?
- What is the anticipated project management fee proposed to build the new down sized plant for the Grand bend Sewage Treatment Facility?
- What has it cost the municipality to build the Goosemarsh Line low pressure sewage collection system line? Has the project been fully paid for?
- Are there any benefitting properties that have yet to contribute to the cost of building the Goosemarsh Line low pressure sewage collection system line? If so, what is the amount of money still owed by these properties? Why have these funds not been collected?
- Where is the cost benefit analysis for the proposed sewer system expansion that council is ‘considering’ for the lakeshore areas?