Last Friday, CAO Snider, Treasurer Koiner and I had a teleconference with a staff member from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), to discuss the short comings of our OCIF3 application. It was during this discussion, that we learned that the launch for the next round of grants – OCIF4 – will be before the end of spring 2017. This is significant as previous OCIF launches have been in the fall. One of the conditions of the OCIF grant programme is that eligible expenses date back to the day of the launch. What does this mean for Westport? If we are successful getting OCIF4, all eligible expenses after the launch date (June 21) will the covered.
Accordingly, the work schedule has been adjusted by one month, so that work begins mid-June rather than mid-May. We are, once again, applying to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for approval to spray irrigate in order to avoid hauling.
The advocacy with the government, on behalf of the Village, continues. I have a meeting with Minister Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure in Toronto on Thursday and continue to be in contact with the Premier’s office, pushing for a meeting with her.
Thank you to everyone who sent letters and emails to members of the Ontario government. I can assure you that they have not fallen on deaf ears.
The Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF3) grants are due Friday, October 21. The Village is requesting the maximum amount of $2 million – of which 90% will be grant. I believe that our application is very strong. We are adding an updated Asset Management Plan, which has become a significant component to these applications over the past 12 months.
I have been asked several times over the past few months what you, the residents and business owners, can do to help support our application. At a recent Committee of the Whole meeting, I agreed with the request to provide a sample outline of a letter to the Minister of Infrastructure that could be included in our submission.
If you wish to send correspondence or speak directly to Minister Chiarelli, here is his email and toll free telephone number.
firstname.lastname@example.org Toll-free: 1-800-268-7095
For anyone who wants to have a letter included in our submission, you can drop it off at Town Hall or send directly to email@example.com. Below is a suggestion only.
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure
900 Bay Street, 5th Floor, Mowat Block
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2E1
Dear Minister Chiarelli
I am a resident or business owner (check one) in the Village of Westport. Our municipal waste water treatment plant has been the subject of a Class C – Municipal Environmental Assessment, received support from the MOECC to proceed with the approved alternate solution and recently was given approval by Municipal Council after reaching the 70% completion stage of the detailed design.
The existing system is called Snowfluent, which treats effluent by turning it into snow. Well, that is how it is supposed to work. For a variety of reasons, it has not worked very well for the past several years. Since 2014, the village has found it necessary to haul effluent to another treatment facility – approximately $800,000 worth of haulage – instead of dumping the waste into Upper Rideau Lake.
We are a small community of under 700 full time residents and need your help for the proposed rehabilitation of the waste water treatment plant, which will remove the public safety concerns and the moratorium on new builds and allow my village to grow.
Please support our OCIF3 application. Our community is depending on you.
I joined Bob Perreault on Lake 88.1’s In Focus to discuss the 2 million dollar grant Westport received for the snowfluent system, how we are prepared to move waste if needed, and what work is happening now at Town Hall for the spring.
“It sounds to me like for the first time in a little bit, the people of Westport get to look forward during the spring instead of just constantly checking over their shoulder.” — Bob Perreault
Thanks for listening if you caught the interview live! Otherwise, LISTEN HERE for the full 14 minute interview.
Thanks to Lake 88.1, especially Bob and his In Focus team.