TROUT CREEK – Council plans to go all the way in kiboshing unnecessary source water protection policies.
“(Council) will not stop until someone can prove to us that Trout Creek is an area at risk or Trout Creek is removed from being identified as a significant risk under the Source Water Policy,” said Mayor Peter McIsaac.
In an interview following a recent public meeting, McIsaac noted the Municipality of Powassan understands the need for the protection of source water, however, he said Trout Creek should not be singled out – especially when there is no evidence to back up the designation.
Due to changes in Ontario’s Building Code put into effect last year, 242 septic systems located in Trout Creek are subject to mandatory re-inspection, as they have been designated as significant threats to source drinking water.
“We have a community that had their individual household wells converted from dug to drilled in the early 80s through a provincial program to avoid the risks that the Source Water Protection committee is suggesting exist,” he said. “These changes will result in additional septic installation costs for phosphate and tertiary removal and the requirement to inspect septic systems in Trout Creek every five years…. This is not what the Municipality of Powassan was told they were getting into in 2008 when the council of the day agreed to do a well cluster study.”
McIsaac held a meeting on March 14 at the Trout Creek seniors centre to discuss the implications of the Source Water Protection committee’s draft policy on those properties indicated as significant threats, specifically those included in Trout Creek’s well cluster.
“The meeting had a very good turnout with over 70 people taking the time to come out and listen to my presentation,” said McIsaac. “There was a very good question and answer session for almost an hour. The biggest concern is the lack information coming from both the municipality and the SWP committee.”
McIsaac said council is in the initial stages of developing a policy, as well as dialogue with the province. He said council has also submitted a response to the Source Water Protection committee’s draft policy within the requested ten-day deadline.
“Hopefully council will be able to reverse the decision to include Trout Creek in the policy,” he said. “Simply put, the criteria used to identify an area as a significant risk for source water protection, do not exist in Trout Creek. It will be very difficult for anyone to justify this designation.”
McIsaac said he and Coun. Gerry Giesler are in the process of setting up a meeting with the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority to further discuss the draft policy and its implications.
“After this (meeting) we will be attempting to meet with the Minister of the Environment,” he added.
During the recent Ontario Good Roads Association meeting, members of council were given the opportunity to speak to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding the changes to the building code. Following the meeting, McIsaac said he felt optimistic of the outcome. He also noted multiple municipalities spoke to similar issues during the meeting.
He said to date he hasn’t received a response from the ministry regarding the removal of Trout Creek as a significant threat.