West Nipissing council continues working on plans for a waterline from Cache Bay to Verner to help augment and improve the water supply.
Verner residents have had water problems in the past, mostly relating to the occasional appearance of brown-tinged water, and they have also had a boil water advisory after a water main broke.
As a permanent solution to improve water quality, the municipality has been developing a plan to pipe water directly from Cache Bay to Verner’s water treatment plant.
The waterline would travel along the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) line.
However, although plans are underway, councillor Dan Roveda acknowledges “this is going to be a long process, with lots of hoops to jump through” before the vision reaches fruition.
But some of those hoops have been cleared. Peter Ming, West Nipissing’ manager of water and wastewaters operations, explained that the environmental assessments for the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has been completed.
The municipality has also been in talks with the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.
“A stage one archaeological assessment” was completed and the Ministry of Heritage is “currently reviewing” the document, Ming said.
There are “large sections” of land “adjacent to waters” along CPR’s line that are “undisturbed travel routes” traditionally used by Indigenous people, “and there’s a high potential for uncovering archaeological resources,” Ming noted.
“As a result, a stage two assessment is required,” he added, which will involve “more fieldwork to be conducted during the design phase of the project.”
Next steps include a site survey, and “geological investigations have to start” as well, Ming said.
The municipality will also begin negotiations with CPR “for the municipality to secure an agreement for future construction.”
If all is approved, the municipality will then look for funding sources from the Provincial and Federal governments.
At an estimate cost of “more than 10 million dollars,” Mayor Joanne Savage said, “we will need the support of funding partners.”
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca