Replenished groundwater levels have taken the urgency out of the equation, but Woolwich continues to move ahead with plans to bring municipal services to the core of Breslau. This week, council agreed to pay $89,000 to Stantec Consulting Ltd. to undertake a servicing study.
The issue surfaced in the fall of 2007 when shallow wells began running dry. Homeowners quickly blamed development at the Riverland subdivision, saying grading work had disrupted groundwater flows. Some homes were temporarily linked to neighbours with deep wells and the municipality brought in large storage tanks in some cases.
Wet weather in 2008 has restored well water to historic levels, making the problem less pressing. So far this year, conditions have been ideal for recharging groundwater levels.
The township, however, continues to look at a range of long-term solutions, including the extension of full municipal services to the older areas where residents are still using wells and septic systems.
Initial estimates put the cost of full water and sewer services at $30,000 for each of about 100 homeowners in the old core of the village. For just water, the price tag would be $15,000.
At public meetings that followed the initial crisis, residents appeared split on the need for municipal services, in some cases put off by the cost. If water and sewer pipes are installed, every benefitting homeowner will be compelled to pay a share of the cost even if he or she chooses not to hook up to the system. The connection from the house to the new pipes is the responsibility of the property owner, to be paid for at his or her own expense.
The study, too, is being carried out at the homeowners’ expense. Because it applies to residents of Elroy Acres, where only water services now exist, the special area levy to cover 30 per cent of the cost will be split among 197 properties. Originally budgeted at $100,000 – representing a levy of $152 – the reduced cost of under $90,000 should see the fee drop commensurately.