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Arrested development

The Review, mercredi 19 mars 2008

Arrested development

No building in Hawkesbury until wastewater problems solved

By André Dumont

HAWKESBURY - It's now just about official : there will be no further development in Hawkesbury before any improvement to the town's wastewater treatment capacity takes place.

The reality check came on Monday, when staff recommended council deny a zoning change request that would allow a developer to build eight duplexes or semi-detached houses (16 units) instead of eight single dwellings on a downtown allotment plan.

"We have to stop (development) at one point. We therefore recommend that the allotment plan remains as is," urban planner Manon Belle-Isle said.

Hawkesbury development on hold

"What you are telling us is that with the current wastewater situation, you are recommending us not to approve additional units?" Mayor Jeanne Charlebois asked.

Belle-Isle nodded and said the actual projected wastewater flow from the Place de la Station development is taken into account in a Thompson Rosemount report.

Past councillor Claude Demers says he is the president of the Place de la Station development. Monday night, he tried several times to voice his opinion, only to be reminded by Charlebois that in order to address council, one must file a request in advance to the clerk.

Council decided to postpone any decision regarding Place de la Station until Demers was heard.

Councillor André Chamaillard asked whether the zoning change could be approved when water meters are installed and water consumption reduction followed.

"We would have to see the results first," answered waterworks superintendent Richard Guertin.

"We are already limited by the Ministry of Environment," Guertin said. "Technically, I cannot recommend (housing) units be added."

In her report to council, Belle-Isle notes that Technical Services accepted a development project from Charles Clément on Spence Avenue and Cartier Boulevard, despite the conclusions of a Thompson Rosemount report. Consequently, "It is impossible to recommend even a minimal increase, because of the situation with the wastewater treatment plant working at full capacity."

During a presentation to council Monday night, Thompson Rosemount consultant Rick Eamon also advised against overburdening the wastewater treatment plant.

"Realistically, you should not approve any (new) development in town. You are already exposed to Ministry of Environment fines," Eamon said.

The town of Hawkesbury is facing fines for its repeated non-compliance to its Ministry of Environment certificate of approval. A first court date has been set for Thursday, March 20, in L'Orignal.

Hawkesbury's effluent quality has been non-compliant more than half the time since 2005. Carbonaceous loading exceeded compliance levels once in 2005, seven out of 12 months in 2006 and during five months of 2007.

Total suspended solid levels were too high during nine months in 2005, nine months in 2006 and four months in 2007.

Since 2005, ammonia and phosphorus levels have remained compliant. However, e-coli concentrations were noncompliant in 2005 and 2006, until a disinfection problem was addressed in 2007.

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