Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 18, 2024
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Sole Solution

A preferred solution has emerged for water infrastructure from Wellington to Picton: one water treatment plant to serve Picton and Bloomfield as well as the village.
<p>Slide from the Regional Water Supply Servicing Master Plan Public Consultation Centre presentation at Wellington Town Hall April 11, 2024.</p>
Slide from the Regional Water Supply Servicing Master Plan Public Consultation Centre presentation at Wellington Town Hall April 11, 2024.

The County’s engineers revealed the results of its 1.5 year Regional Water Supply Servicing Master Plan in Wellington last month. 

A new WTP is already in the works for Wellington. Part of the Regional Master Plan rationale involves “opportunities for synergy”: expanding the plant to service Picton, whose drinking water source, Picton Bay, is of poor quality, only makes sense.

One plant means $250,000 in savings every year in maintenance costs. And it means dispensing with a new Picton WTP, estimated at $95 million.

The idea has been explored and assessed from every angle in the Regional Master Servicing Plan, initiated in 2022, as well as in the Picton Master Servicing Plan, initiated early 2023.

Both studies will be completed this summer, allowing the County to start moving on required infrastructure upgrades.

A new Wellington WTP large enough to serve the region will cost $40 million. A larger intake pipe is another $15 million.

On the Picton/Bloomfield side, a new, 20km watermain will cost $50 million. Picton will also need a new booster station to pump water to the Macaulay Reservoir. A possible location is the Millennium Trail and Sandy Hook Road intersection.

The grand total will be at least $105 million. Some of the required funds are already on the books; $23.6 million was budgeted for the Wellington WTP in 2022.

The County has also applied to the province’s Housing Enabling Water System Funding for a further $18 million. Any funds received would offset the costs assigned to ratepayers.

Infrastructure for Development

As CAO Marcia Wallace notes, there are no fewer than 8000 homes at the draft plan approval stage of the planning process.

Development charges are therefore expected to pay for the bulk of the new infrastructure costs. In Wellington, an area study established 18 per cent of its new waterworks benefits existing users and 82 per cent is for new growth.

An area study for Picton will establish similar cost-splitting there. The new watermain and booster station benefit Picton and Bloomfield, so they will be funded by Picton area development charges and/or connection charges.

In Fall 2024, however, once the Picton Master Servicing Plan is completed, the municipality will undertake a Development Charges Background Study, which will look at the potential to combine the Area Specific Development Charge for Wellington with a charge in Picton.

At the Committee of the Whole meeting last month, Council approved a motion directing staff to begin procurement of the final design of new water and wastewater plants in Wellington. In order to qualify for the potential $18 million in provincial funding, water infrastructure projects must be underway. That decision must be ratified at a future meeting of Council.

Water Allocation: First Come, First Served

Sterling Homes, Kaitlin Group, Hilden Homes and PEC Community Partners, all of whom have active development applications in the works, need guaranteed access to the existing municipal water supply in both Wellington and Picton before they develop.


All projects moving through the planning process are receiving a ‘Hold’ designation
pending servicing to ensure the allocation of water and wastewater capacity is issued on a
first-come, first-served 
basis at the time of a subdivision agreement or site plan agreement,
and not tied up or stranded by homes not ready to be built.

David MacPherson

Wellington has enough capacity left to service about 300 new homes. That allocation has been reserved to Kaitlin Group for its proposed Cork and Vine. Sterling’s planned community can only proceed if required basic infrastructure is in place.

In Picton there is still “considerable” capacity to support new home building, according to Manager of Engineering David MacPherson.

“The municipality is currently well into planning for the future of water and wastewater infrastructure in Picton,” he continues. “This planning will ensure the infrastructure is in place to support responsible growth and avoid delays of Council-approved housing projects.”

All projects moving through the planning process are receiving a ‘Hold’ designation pending servicing to ensure the allocation of water and wastewater capacity is issued on a first-come, first-served basis at the time of a subdivision agreement or site plan agreement, and not tied up or stranded by homes not ready to be built, said Mr. MacPherson.

Base31 has received a limited service commitment, just “some of the capacity we need for the Revitalization District,” as Tim Jones puts it. An Interim-Servicing Agreement, obtained in August 2023, set a temporary allocation.

“This allocation allows Base31 to move forward with the work around the commercial and entertainment elements in the Revitalization District of its concept plan,” according to Mr. MacPherson.

“Longer term,” he notes, “additional water and wastewater capacity will be required in Picton to support new housing.”

The Regional Servicing study stresses that Picton’s current infrastructure cannot fully support either its immediate or long-term needs. A new Picton WTP will be needed by 2032, while current operational practices are complex and costly due to aging infrastructure.

Further, the vulnerability and potential for contamination of Picton Bay, which supplies the drinking water for both Picton and Bloomfield, are a serious, ongoing concern.

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 19 edition of The Picton Gazette
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