water-fullEverybody got a little dig in as the dignitaries donned hard hats and turned the sod for Owen Sound's Wastewater Treatment Plant. MP Larry Miller and Arthur Potts, Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, reminded us that their respective governments were each committing approximately $15 million through the Green Infrastructure Fund. The rest of the projected $48,088,000 cost will be borne by the city, debentured and repaid from municipal sewage revenues rather than property taxes. Potts quipped to project manager Matt Prentice that "under budget" was the new standard, to the approving nod of city manager Ruth Coursey.

waterb-fullOwen Sound is the last city on the Great Lakes to be treating wastewater only at the primary level, and this upgrade to secondary treatment has been long in the works. Miller said, "Simply put, the material that goes back in the bay will be much cleaner." It will be the largest expenditure on city infrastructure for the forseeable future, but the complex project is "vital to the environmental sustainability of Owen Sound and Georgian Bay", said mayor Deb Haswell. Both she and Potts spoke of it as an investment in "expanding the capacity" of the city, stimulating growth in both our population and tax base.

The new treatment facility will come on-line in phases, with completion expected in late fall 2016. A shoreline trail will be included in the project.

The Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Great Lakes Metis Council and Historic Saugeen Metis were consulted on the plans and contributed to the ceremony on their traditional land.