Brethour working to meet changing needs

Darlene Wroe

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

BRETHOUR TOWNSHIP - Though it's a small municipality, Brethour Township is working with major changes occurring in the agriculture industry, and adapting, adjusting to needs, and attempting to maintain a residential component to the township as well.

Brethour Reeve David Wight said in a telephone interview that the township is glad that there were not any big weather events in 2022. In previous years the township had problems with a couple of its culverts due to the increased tiling in the township as large-scale farming advances. Increased tiling is resulting in more water coming off the fields, he explained, and the culverts installed by the township in previous years were not anticipated to have to meet this present need. Because some of the culverts are too small to handle the present water flow, some of the roads have been washed out, he explained.

"As you replace the culverts, they have to be bigger," said Wight.

The present-day developments were never anticipated and the township is now facing the changing needs for infrastructure.

"It does change the focus of a smaller township like ours," said Wight.

Thought is also being given to look into the township's official plan to make it easier for residents to move back into the township, said Wight.

Wight said growing the residential tax base is needed for the township to survive.

"We'll have to sit down and look at that to see if there is any way to do it."

Due to the altering use of land through larger farming developments, "a lot of houses have disappeared and with them the lots," he explained.

The township's council was acclaimed in the October 24 municipal election, but there is one new councillor - Jenna Wight, who is the daughter of the reeve.

"She's one of the few young farmers in the township," he noted.

BEACH ROAD BRIDGE

Coming up in the future is an engineering project which will make preparations for the replacement of Beach Road Bridge. The bridge is not really wide enough to allow the township's truck to properly snowplow it, Wight explained,. "so it's a little bit of a challenge."

The township will be looking into funding to finance the actual replacement of the bridge.

Since early 2022, the township has had a shared services agreement with the neighbouring township of Hilliard, which is providing administrative and financial duties.

"It's been going very well so far," said Wight. "We appreciate Hilliard's cooperation and the job that both people are doing. It's really helped to stabilize our township."

Brethour still has its own roads superintendent who still uses the township garage, he said.

The Brethour municipal buildings are still maintained, while heat is kept low on other days. On Tuesdays, the clerk and financial officer spend the day at the township office. On the second Tuesday of each month, Brethour council holds its regular meeting at 1 p.m. at the township building, Wight added.

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker