Council Advances Key Drainage Projects

SOUTHWEST MIDDLESEX - During the May 22 council meeting, three significant drainage projects were discussed, reflecting the community's ongoing concerns about effective water management and infrastructure resilience. The meeting, presided over by Mayor Allan Mayhew and featuring Drainage Superintendent Andrew Neely, addressed the upcoming plans and timelines for the Gould Drain, McTaggart Drain, and a new proposal for the Hagle Drain.

The session began with the Gould Drain, which has been a subject of community attention due to recent drainage issues. Andrew Neely outlined the necessity of appointing Spriet Associates to undertake a Section 78 request to reconstruct the drain, which was originally established based on a 1951 engineering report. The recent substantial rainfall and subsequent water accumulation prompted urgent actions, including temporary fixes and investigations that revealed further complications like sinkholes. Council moved quickly to address these issues, with Councillor Vink and Councillor McCallum leading the motion, which was subsequently approved by council.

Attention then shifted to the McTaggart Drain, where council deliberated on the tender results for necessary excavation work. Neely recommended awarding the contract to McNally Excavating, which had submitted the lowest bid of $203,318. Noteworthy was a slight revision in the contract, allowing the property owner to backfill the ditch on his property under the supervision of Spriet, ensuring the work's satisfaction. Council responded positively, and the recommendation was carried without opposition.

The meeting concluded with a discussion on a new and somewhat unique drainage issue related to the Hagle Drain. This issue involves multiple properties and was triggered by a property owner at a low elevation experiencing significant basement flooding. Neely recommended appointing Spriet Associates to construct a new municipal drain, acknowledging the complex nature of the project that might resemble a storm sewer more than a traditional agricultural drain. This project also received a proactive response from council.

Throughout the meeting, council members engaged with the proposals with inquiries about timelines and the size of the new installations, reflecting a keen oversight of the projects’ scopes and impacts. Superintendent Neely provided reassurances about the expected progress and the strategic approach to these essential infrastructure projects.

These drainage projects are part of the township of Southwest Middlesex's ongoing initiatives to update its infrastructure in response to potential water management challenges, which have become more pressing due to recent increases in rainfall. The community's participation, alongside the council's decisions, underlines the steps being taken to address these issues. Local authorities and residents will continue to observe the development of these projects, aiming to ensure that the township's infrastructure meets both present and anticipated requirements.

David Gomez, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner