Pressed to consider municipal water and sewer connections, Breslau residents in unserviced parts of the village have earned a 15-year respite, the result of a recent survey by the township.
The majority of residents in the affected area opposed the idea of extending municipal services into their neighbourhoods, with Woolwich agreeing to drop the issue.
Following township council’s approval in May of a new attempt to gauge public sentiment, staff issued surveys to 149 homes on 11 streets in Breslau without full municipal servicing. Of the 127 responses received, representing 85 per cent of the properties, 62.6 per cent were opposed (77 responses) and 37.4 were in favour (46 responses). Surveys were collected through June and July.
As a result, the township will drop any proposal for an extension of services until the next time major road upgrades are needed, probably at least 15 years after upcoming paving projects are carried out.
“Staff are very comfortable with the findings of the survey,” manager of infrastructure services Jared Puppe told councillors meeting by videoconference Tuesday night.
“We will not return to the servicing issue in Breslau until that resurfacing expenditure, that road resurfacing expenditure in Breslau, has reached the end of its usual life, that’s the intent. We’re earmarking about a 15-year term.”
Woolwich will, however, retain sewage-treatment capacity for the eventual extension of services into currently unserved parts of the village.
“Staff appreciate that property ownership does change over time and are cognizant that these areas will receive municipal services at some point in the future, therefore, it is imperative that council protect sewage capacity for these unserviced properties,” Puppe said in his report.
Coun. Larry Shantz asked if plans to pave roads such as Woolwich Street – “in urgent need of repair” – would go ahead without the usual urbanization upgrades (the installation of curb/gutter and storm sewer), with Puppe noting the idea is to go with simple repaving, and perhaps some repairs to existing sidewalks where needed.
“We would not undergo any urbanization or any major improvements, simply look at improving the roadway for rideability.”
Many residents of the older, unserviced areas of the village, including the Elroy Acres subdivision, have previously resisted attempts to make the switch. Bigger pushes from the township in 2008 and 2010 were rejected, in large part due to the estimated costs which ranged up to $90,000 for some households.
The township has had some uptake on the idea, however, including parts of the subdivision on municpal water. And in 2016, some 25 properties in the core of the village connected to municipal water and sewer at an initial cost of $11,200 apiece as developers completed a loop of services in conjunction with adjacent new subdivisions.
In 2010 there were 96 properties on private services in the older area of Breslau and there still remain 60 properties that are on private water (well) and wastewater (septic) systems.
With the latest survey and decision to drop the servicing issue, the township has heard what residents are saying, noted Coun. Patrick Merlihan.
“This is another good example of the township asking Breslau residents what they want. They provided us feedback, and we listened to the needs and wants of the people of Breslau.”
In another Breslau matter, council awarded a $68,000 contract to GM BluePlan Engineering to carry out the engineering work for the future reconstruction of a section of Woolwich Street North between Highway 7 and Fountain Street.