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Ratepayers comment on public works depot in Trent lakes Saturday
April 06, 2018
by Terry Gillis
Clarkson commented that there is a very good reason why the depots are where they are now. “And that is the size of the municipality,” she stated. Further, she told council, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
Chris Bradley, director of public works for the County of Peterborough and a Trent Lakes resident told council and members of the gallery that he has a bit of work related background as it relates to the subject being discussed but said that he was mainly there as a resident. He did say, however, that he would bring in a little bit of his background to support some of his comments.
Mr. Bradley concurred with the previous speaker in that Trent Lakes is one of the largest townships in Peterborough County. With that said, Mr. Bradley commented that “to think that we could operate our public works department here through a central depot, I don’t think would be a terribly big challenge.” The county, he said, operates four public works operations out of a central depot, and it’s just a “titch bigger than the township.”
Bradley did not think a centralized depot was a relevant argument. He said that a centralized depot makes things easier.
The biggest concern for Bradley is that one thing that hasn’t been considered, and one cost that was not listed in the Cambium analysis is “the environmental cost associated with taking a green field and turning it into a brown field.” Bradley stated that “because that, in fact, is what you’re doing when you’re building a public works depot.”
Bradley reminded council that they have minimal options when it comes to alternative uses for the old facilities because of the numerous problems such as chemicals and perto-carbon contamination. Reclaiming the property for greenspace would not be an affordable option. “You’re stuck with those sites for life,” he said.
To take a site such as the one that was listed as an alternative at County Rd. 36 (by Flynn’s) or the one across the road from the municipal building, which are both decent sites says Bradley, and are relatively green, ‘to start injecting chlorides and petro-carbons into the soil, I think, would be totally irresponsible, and as a resident, I would be very disappointed.”
Councillor Lambshead commented that he didn’t know what the associated costs of turning a green property into a brown property and the reverse are. “I think that’s an important number that should be included with our business case and our operating costs.”
Mayor Matthews asked if Mr. Bradley could help provide some numbers.
Bradley said that he does have a brown field site (in his jurisdiction) and said that they (county) have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years just on testing “because we poisoned the local aquifer with chlorides, we’ve been and will be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to supply water to the local residents.”
CAO O’Neill-Jackson commented that, drawing on past experience, she was directly involved in a brown field clean up and it was $10M. “So the clean up of a brown field site means anywhere from $1M plus, depending on the level of contamination.”
Chris Bradley commented that he has worked in other municipalities in the past “where we’ve had all kinds of interesting things that you can find.” He also told council that “there are a lot of things that you don’t want to find,” buried beneath the soil.
Carol Armstrong, a member of the Picard Lake Cottagers Association, commented that although a significant amount of study and analysis has been performed around the costs, capital and operation associated with repairing and maintaining the three existing works depots versus building a new depot a needs analysis is missing.
According to Armstrong, needs and requirements should be the driving force behind whether or not a new depot is built.
Armstrong said that, “if the needs are well understood, then if repair, upgrades and maintenance of existing depots meet current needs, then that’s the decision, as it’s the least cost solution.” Further she said that if the current depots cannot be modified to meet current and future needs then a new depot should be pursued. In summary, Carol said that “this decision needs to be based on what the needs of this community are now and going forward.”
CAO O’Neill Jackson responded to Ms. Armstrong’s comments, stating that the township has looked at all three depots internally as a needs assessment, and stated that they do have the information Armstrong was looking for, but it hasn’t been compiled into a report. Ms. Armstrong replied that she was looking for a more in depth, larger needs analysis than just a structural analysis.
Some residents brought up concerns about distance and delays in providing services to all areas of the municipality. Others wanted to know what the benefits of a central depot were for taxpayers and what the rational is for a new building. Others were supportive of a new centralized depot and of keeping green fields green and protecting the environment. Several residents acknowledged the hard work and diligence that has been done by staff and council.
The very orderly meeting wrapped up after about an hour and a half and provided staff and council with a number of very well thought out points and concerns to consider.
Council carried a motion to receive the presentation by Cambium Inc., and the meeting was adjourned.