Comments, Letters and
by Manotick Residents
(before and since
19, 2008 Public Peeting)
An open letter from Bob
ugly truth about Manotick’s central servicing history
...to Mayor Larry O'Brien, March, 2008:
Dear Mayor O'Brien
This is an open letter I will be distributing to members of
Council, the public and the media. I look forward to your reply.
It's about time the ugly truth about Manotick's servicing
history got to the public and City Council before they are asked
to waste another $ 75 million dollars of taxpayer's money.
Thirty Million will be sought as the next instalment when
Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee receive recommendations
from City staff on March 31st 2008.
Deputy City Manager Richard Hewitt will put his name on the
recommendation. Mr Hewitt and his crew are the same brilliant
minds who stood behind the Munster force main, a multi
million-dollar boondoggle that polluted the air in Richmond
Village so badly that the City were convicted and fined in
criminal court by Ontario's Ministry of the Environment.
Ottawa's Auditor General shredded the staff's contention that a
central sewer through Richmond was more cost effective than site
treatment options available at a fraction of the cost. Undaunted
by prosecution, conviction, and the waste of upwards of $25
million Mr. Hewitt is poised to make Manotick his next victim.
This time, however, he better be ready to face some tough
questions from Councillors and community leaders who refuse to
be fooled again.
Central to the debate is the contest between old and modern
technology used for sewage treatment. Mr. Hewitt will argue that
the "Big Pipe" is the only viable servicing option for Manotick.
Fortunately for taxpayers there is clear evidence that he can no
longer support his position.
During the late 1990's the Province of Ontario sought out
innovative ways to promote housing for seniors in rural areas.
Pre-Amalgamated Manotick was eligible for the programme but
could not proceed without a sewage treatment facility. Regional
Chair of the day, Peter Clark, saw the light and committed the
Regional Municipality to a contract to build the site treatment
plant now in use and serving Village Walk.
Armed with a sewage treatment commitment the developer pre-sold
over 50% of the units to buyers eager to spend their retirement
in a new village facility designed and built for them. Rideau
Township gave the site its blessing and construction of
buildings advanced to a point that the project's mortgage lender
invested $3 million dollars. What could go wrong? True to form
Regional staff refused to fulfil their end of the bargain in a
timely way and construction was put on hold. Eventually nervous
purchasers asked for the return of their deposits, the developer
went broke, and the mortgage holder sold the lands recovering
less than 20 % if their investment.
The new landowner scraped plans for a senior's project and
demolished the partially completed buildings. The Region now
faced litigation from the lender and the contractor engaged to
build the site treatment facility. $3 million went up in smoke.
One might hope the story would end there. Not so!!
The Region recommitted to build the identical sewage treatment
plant for the new owner but this time with a twist. The new
plant was designed to be destroyed when central sewers were
brought to the Village-another $ 3 million up in smoke! For
those keeping score we're now at $ 6 million on our way to over
$ 80 Million.
Manotick's Hillside Gardens contains 217 sites. City Staff have
recently identified the redevelopment potential for the Core
following sewers to be a mere 80 new units. No other parts of
the Village need sewers and Minto's plans to scrap the Village
Secondary Plan was overwhelmingly rejected by City Council. Can
someone please tell us who is going to pick up the tab?
The treatment plant now functioning in Village Walk serves 72
homeowners, the effluent discharged after treatment is so pure
that it actually dilutes the pollution levels in the Rideau
An independent study recently commissioned by the plant builder
demonstrates that it is running at about 16% of it capacity and
is therefore capable of receiving additional sewage from the
Mews, a new seniors residence, and Main street's commercial core
at a tiny fraction of the cost of a central sewer. The same
technology can be implemented in Hillside Gardens without the
need to destroy its streets and tear up every owners'
landscaping. The size of the proposed cure far exceeds the size
of the problem.
Staff would have you believe that past studies don't support the
use of modern site treatment options. They do so based upon
studies done more than a decade ago and in the face of their
approval and support for site sewage treatment for the Carp
Airport expansion? Sorry that dog don't hunt!
Technology is the product of necessity and Ottawa's huge capital
fund deficit compels us to exercise fiscal responsibility when
ever possible. Senior staff and members of Council who don't
understand that can't contribute to a new vision for Ottawa.
Brian Grover to ARAC Committee on March 31, 2008:
Committee – March 31, 2008
#3 re Manotick Infrastructure
Intended Speaking Points by Commentator
- Resident of
Manotick Core Area and supporter of sewer petition
Ontario Professional Engineer with postgraduate degrees in
Business Administration and Water Resources Engineering
- Former partner
in Ottawa consulting firm of engineers and economists
- Former manager
of engineering groups in Canadian International Development Agency
and World Bank, dealing with low cost, sustainable water and
sanitation projects in developing countries
- Author of
handbook re preparation of water and sanitation projects for
supporter of improved sanitation in priority areas in Manotick
(Hillside Gardens and Core Area). Also aware of continuing local
growth and likelihood of further expansion of areas to be sewered
nearby, hence see merit in modular, staged approach to new sewers
and associated treatment
- Aware of good
experience with alternatives to removing wastewater by expensive
conventional sewers, such as small bore sewers to collect septic
tank effluents in other Ontario locations: Field (near North Bay)
and Wardsville (near London).These alternative collection systems,
designed by progressive engineering consultants in Ottawa, have
demonstrated practical means to reduce construction times and
impacts, while lowering costs appreciably. Local community
association in Manotick pressed the City previously, in 2001and
2003, to evaluate such lower cost systems (apparently without
- Proponent of
local treatment plants to serve local populations, such as small,
inconspicuous Village Walk plant in Manotick (approved and
monitored by Province, and apparently operated successfully, to
satisfaction of City staff)
about concept of depending on large, distant and complex treatment
plant that needs very long connecting sewers and much pumping:
Ottawa’s ROPEC sewage treatment plant on the Ottawa River is 55
km. from Manotick. Associated complexities invite operational
disappointed that city engineering staff has not demonstrated to
Manotick residents that realistic, lower cost options for sewage
collection and treatment have been properly considered and
evaluated (small bore sewers and local treatment). Instead
residents are told they must pay large sums towards expensive
conventional “big pipe” system, with currently estimated total
costs of $27 million (highly likely to increase) to serve only the
first priority areas. Other local areas will surely expect sewers
in the near future, involving many more $millions
- A realistic
economic evaluation of alternative systems is needed before the
multi-million dollar decision for sewers in Manotick is finalized.
Both capital and operating costs need to be considered.
Incremental operating costs for the “big pipe” solution included
much extra pumping, as well as treatment of extra sewage. However,
a treatment plant in Manotick could produce high quality effluent
for local use (irrigation, street cleaning, etc.) and reduce the
current costs of importing high quality drinking water from Ottawa
for local use. Such operating costs and benefits are substantial
and must be considered, along with all capital costs, in a proper
- I recommend
that a new desk study be initiated promptly by the City, aided by
competent consultants, to compare the “big pipe” solution with
lower cost options, including small bore sewers in both priority
areas, as well as a local treatment plant. No new data are
needed, so no serious delays should result. Comparative study of
few months duration can be completed while final site surveys and
tender documents are in preparation, capable of being used for
whatever technical solutions are decided
- Very large
potential savings ($millions) are well worth a small additional
cost and possible slight delay, in view of huge total costs for
new systems of sewers. It is not unreasonable to expect wastewater
investments of $100 million or more in the next twenty years in
the Manotick area. Let’s make the right decision at the outset
completion date for priority sewers (Hillside Gardens and Core
Area) and a local treatment plant would likely be earlier if the
“big pipe” solution is replaced, based on a thorough technical and
economic evaluation, by proven alternative technologies
- ARAC should
seriously promote incremental local solutions for water and
sanitation infrastructure for rural areas south, east and west
of Ottawa’s sprawling urban area. Otherwise all rural areas may be
forced to pay for high cost additions to complex central systems,
when lower cost and more sustainable solutions exist within their
own areas. Manotick provides a splendid opportunity to adopt a new
paradigm in wastewater collection and disposal for rural areas
- Full Council
looks to ARAC to provide relevant leadership re sensible
infrastructure solutions for rural, low density areas within
- Rideau Ward
Councillor Brooks has recently made two sets of comments in our
Manotick Messenger newspaper that are sensible and can be
interpreted to support such local solutions:
ought to govern communities on local issues”… “the community itself
will be held accountable for decisions within its community. It
really is all about taking ownership” (March 19)
Four requirements must
be met re the consideration of alternative solutions to the “big
Construction must be
completed within the same/similar time
There has to be
significant savings for the property owner and city
Significant less impact
on the village business core and environment
long term liability must
be clearly stated (March 26)
Councillor Brooks should
lead ARAC to require a prompt technical and economic evaluation
by the City of lower cost options to the “big pipe” solution for
sewers and treatment in Manotick’s priority areas
ARAC and other
Councillors, as well as the Manotick citizens who will pay full
costs for this expansion, should be given the opportunity to
comment on this revised comparison of alternatives, before
irrevocable decisions are taken on the first priority stage, and
many, many millions of our dollars committed.
Manotick residents have
already expressed our willingness to pay for a new sanitation system
through the successful petitions in Hillside Gardens and Core Area.
Competent Manotick citizens should express willingness to assist
Councillors, City staff and local residents, by helping to review
options and support the best solution, in order to resolve our very
real and pressing sanitation problems. I will gladly serve as a
volunteer community member in this review process
Brian Grover to each member of Council,
prior to their April 9th
Wastewater Management Decision for
On April 9,
Ottawa City Council will be advised to approve a project to address
wastewater problems in priority areas in Manotick village, estimated
to cost $27million.
I suggest that
Council should decide to postpone this decision until a more
thorough examination has been completed of alternative, lower cost
systems than the solution being proposed by city staff.
article on April 5 in the Ottawa Citizen [VIEW
HERE] gives a succinct overview
of the issue, but does not propose a solution. That’s not his job.
Let me, a
sanitary engineer with more than 30 years of experience, try to
ventilate the issue and propose a possible solution. [At one time
I was a partner in an Ottawa consulting firm. My last position
before retirement was as global manager of multi-disciplinary teams
at the World Bank in Washington D.C., working exclusively to find
affordable and sustainable solutions to water supply and sanitation
problems in many different countries].
I am a resident
in the downtown core area of Manotick. Despite having an upgraded
septic system that works satisfactorily, my wife and I voted for the
city petition to pay for sewers and treatment facilities, so as to
resolve the environmental problems that retard development in our
part of the village. We are ready to pay more than $20,000 for the
only technical solution that was offered in the petition. But we
would obviously prefer a solution with lower costs and less
disruption. No such choice was offered.
neighbours, the residents of Hillside Gardens, have repeatedly
sought city help to resolve their serious environmental problems.
They, too, voted for their own sewer petition. Their heartfelt pleas
at the ARAC meeting on March 31 for an urgent solution helped to
persuade that committee to recommend going full steam ahead with the
“big pipe” alternative proposed by city staff for all of Manotick.
sewer technology has changed little within the past century, apart
from improved pipe materials. Conventional sewers are very expensive
because the relatively large pipes, needed to carry solid and liquid
wastes without blocking, must be installed in deep trenches that
slope towards the treatment site. This often necessitates pumping
stations to lift the sewage. These, too, are expensive to build and
Within the past
few decades, researchers – including Canadians – have confirmed that
lower cost sewer options can provide practical alternatives. If the
solids are somehow removed at the residence, for example by a septic
tank (which existing homes and businesses in Manotick already
have),”effluent” sewers of smaller diameter can be laid at shallower
depths, often by trenching machines. Such “small bore sewers” can be
considerably less expensive than conventional sewers, can be
installed faster, and can result in much less site disruption.
sewers, however, are not a perfect solution. They require septic
tanks, or something similar, to remove the solids. They also need
more maintenance. And they can’t drain basements, as they are
usually laid above basement floor levels.
Making the right
choice of sewer type for any area requires a thorough assessment of
alternative options. Since sewer costs usually comprise the larger
part of a budget for a wastewater management system, selecting the
right sewer option warrants considerable work, and requires
considerable engineering and economic expertise. Manotick residents,
me included, have not been persuaded that city staff (and/or their
consultants) have examined and assessed all options adequately.
How and where to
treat and dispose of wastewater is a related issue, and determines
the end point of the sewers. That in turn impacts on the total
design of the sewer system. Manotick is more than 50 km (and many
pumping stations) away from the city’s ROPEC treatment plant on the
Ottawa River, a huge plant that still doesn’t function adequately.
different option for treating Manotick’s wastes would be to site a
small treatment plant in or near the village, and avoid pumping our
sewage all the way to the east end of Ottawa. In fact there already
is such a small, city-owned, local plant, satisfactorily serving a
sub-division within Manotick (Village Walk). Why doesn’t the city
plan to use this existing treatment plant, or alternatively build a
small new one on the site presently envisaged for the big, new
pumping station? A good question, not yet answered to our
strong and growing to resolve serious environmental problems in the
priority areas covered by the recent petitions. Many residents are
so fed up with all the city’s studies and processes that they have
voted to spend big bucks, and cause the city to incur still higher
expenditures, so as to start implementing the “big pipe” solution
favoured by city staff.
like me, would prefer that the city revisit the economic and
technical issues promptly, taking “due diligence” to ensure that the
best choice is being made for Manotick. We are all aware that the
big pipe solution, once underway, will set the precedent for all
future sewer extensions in our village area, and beyond.
In fact the
Council’s decision re Manotick sewers will set a serious precedent
for other villages in the rural areas that collectively account for
some 90% of the area of amalgamated Ottawa. When villages like Kars,
or North Gower, have need for central sewers, will they, too, be
forced to connect by “big pipes” to Ottawa’s behemoth systems? Or
will local solutions be encouraged for such local problems? Will
economic and financial considerations be given proper weight?
definitely needs to decide how to proceed soon. If it were my
decision at this late stage in the process, I would instruct city
staff to quickly issue a new Request for Proposals that would
invite teams of engineers and contractors to offer firm prices and
schedules for designing and building wastewater systems to serve the
two petition areas. I would also engage independent consultants
to evaluate these proposals against the option already proposed
by city staff. And I would invite local residents to review and
comment at strategic times, through their community
associations. Draft Terms of Reference for the RFP, and the
selection and report of the independent consultants, would warrant
serious community input.
suggested process take time? Obviously yes, up to six months
or so, if city staff were to fast track all the work and cooperate
fully. But city staff could use this
time to move forward with the site work, surveys and other
preliminary work related to the construction stage.A bit more
planning time would almost certainly result in time savings during
the construction phase, which is guaranteed to be messy and annoying
to all in Manotick, especially business firms.
Would there be
extra costs? Maybe up front, but almost certainly less than
one percent of the costs of the planned first stage of construction.
Yet modest extra costs at this stage could possibly save millions of
dollars in Manotick alone, if lower cost solutions are consequently
could also result in other rural areas, when they come to explore
options for their own sewers, if the city finally gets the process
right in Manotick.
residents - and other taxpayers throughout Ottawa – benefit from the
transparency and accountability implicit in this possible
face a difficult situation. Why not opt for a creative
Halt the “big
pipe” solution now, and help us to ensure that we get a technical
and economic evaluation of all the real costs for two distinct
At that stage, I
am confident that we will all see the wisdom of choosing a low cost,
modern solution for solving Manotick’s wastewater problems.
by David Edey to each member of Council,
prior to their
April 9th meeting:
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 10:53 PM
Subject: Doing the right thing...
The Mayor and Councillors
We Canadians may choose to ignore
the caveats of one of America's more prescient authors on what our
future might look like, but if we persist with that it will be at
our peril. James Howard Kunstler, in his today's Ottawa
Citizen article, offers us a poignant reminder of "the shocks
the global oil crisis is going to bring".
One of those is a "Farewell to
suburbia", the title of his Arguments piece, on page B7. If
you haven't yet seen it, please have your staff place it at the
top of your required-reading file so that you can get through it
before casting your vote this coming Wednesday, for or against the
Manotick big-pipe issue.
Clearly, pushing the big pipe to the
outer reaches of Ottawa's rural footprint will be among the
greater interests of the city's major real-estate developers;
without it, the suburbanization of Ottawa's scattering of villages
will become much more difficult for them. That kind of
outreach will now or soon be at the high end of many
developers' lists of economic imperatives: they must continue to
put up (houses), or perish. Thus their lobbyists' urgings to
have you okay the pipe's rural capillarization are understandable,
but only from the perspective of that sector's threatened
Mr. Kunstler today in his article
had these things to say, among others:
"Car-dependent communities, the
greatest misallocation of resources in history, have no future
— but that’s just one of the shocks the global oil crisis is
going to bring.
"The fog of cluelessness that
hangs over North America about the gathering global oil crisis
and its ramifications seems to thicken by the hour. One reason
for all the fog is that the key part of the story is so broadly
misunderstood — namely, that it’s not about running out of oil;
it’s about how the complex systems we depend on for everyday
life begin to destabilize as the global demand for oil starts to
outstrip the supply.
"All these systems are visibly
wobbling these days, and mutually reinforcing each other’s
instabilities, multiplying and accelerating our problems. For
instance, our ventures in bio-fuels are affecting worldwide
grain prices so severely that food riots have broken out in
several poor countries.
"The capital markets have been
faltering conspicuously for half a year now and the failures
occurring there are not so mysterious if you understand that a
major implication of the oil story is the prospect of industrial
economies being unable to generate the kind of regular 'growth'
that we’ve become used to. Hence, a loss of faith infects the
common investment 'instruments' that represent the conventional
idea of growth. Under these conditions stocks, bonds, and
currencies themselves lose legitimacy and a desperation sets in
among the financial community to find some other way to make
"That economy is not so regular
anymore in light of the oil predicament.
"Look at it from another angle.
The big builders and the realtors seem to think that we’ve
entered the lower arc of a cycle that will turn up again sooner
or later. I think they are mistaken. This is not a dip in the
real estate cycle, it is the end of the entire suburban program
in North America as we have known it.
"The new reality of the oil
situation informs us that we will not have the energy to run
this automobile-dependent infrastructure for daily life. The
material assets of suburbia are destined to lose both their
monetary value and their sheer usefulness as 100-kilometre daily
commutes become economically insupportable, not to mention the
cost of heating 3,000-square-foot houses.
"We’re going to discover the hard
way that the project of suburbia represents the greatest
misallocation of resources in the history of the world. We will
have to occupy the landscape differently in the years ahead.
Yet, the enormous sunk costs of suburbia are very likely to
provoke a furious campaign to sustain the manifestly
unsustainable. The political implications of that are pretty
"As in our living arrangements, so
in our manner of moving around the landscape, a.k.a.
transportation. Start by recognizing that the entire system of
Happy Motoring is unlikely to continue as we have known it. This
should be taken for granted by anyone seriously reflecting on
our future. Unfortunately, the wish to rescue this system trumps
the desperate need for us to make other arrangements. Thus huge
efforts are being made, and hopes invested in, what are called
'alternative fuels' — the desperate wish to keep running all the
cars by other means than gasoline.
"I think the stark truth of the
matter is that no combination of alternative fuels will allow us
to run the North American highway network, Wal-Mart, and Walt
Disney World — or even a substantial fraction of those things.
Because of our sunk costs in Happy Motoring, we will surely try
everything — solar, wind, nuclear, bio-fuels, used french-fry
oil — and we will surely be disappointed by what they can
actually do for us. The problem is that they don’t scale.
"Indeed, the whole question of
scale is another key element of the larger story. I would state
categorically that the energy predicament implies we will have
to downscale all of the systems of daily life named above, and
that we will also have to live far more locally and
self-sufficiently than has been the case in recent history.
"Right now, with transport,
finance, and food production in disarray, we have entered the
period of history that I call 'the long emergency.' Despite
the technotriumphalism rampant among our governing classes, we
are not likely to see (nor are we entitled to) an orderly
transition from where we are now to where we are heading. We
are unlikely, for instance, to 'come up with' a miracle rescue
remedy for motor transport. We will have to confront the sheer
loss of capital that is at the heart of the financial fiasco
rather than continue to play a shell game with loans from
central banks to cover up for failed securities. The crisis in
grain prices is an early warning that our current methods of
food production are hostage to the petroleum markets.
"In the absence of a coherent
political discussion, we are fated to a merely reactive
response to the linked failures of all these systems. One
product of the long emergency will be the creation of a new
social phenomenon called 'the former middle class.' They will
be a large group of people who have lost jobs, vocations, and
incomes. Quite a few are just now in the process of losing
their homes. They will be full of anger and grievance and they
will demand political action to return their 'entitlements' to
well-paid jobs, comfortable houses, and limitless mobility.
"There is no telling how they
will behave when they discover that those things are gone
forever. We are not doing ourselves a favour by ignoring these
For the full text
of this article, which also deals with issues of public and
commercial transportation, go to
Ottawa Citizen, page B7, April 19th.
On Wednesday, please consider where
the intensity of Ottawa's future development should be
concentrated. The answer is not, in my opinion, in Ottawa's
outlying villages and the arable land adjacent to them.
Please keep the big pipe at home, it's got more than it can handle
Grant Goodes to Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton,
their April 19th meeting:
From: Grant Goodes
Subject: Public Meeting:
Manotick's Wastewater Treatment Plant
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 12:23:30 -0400
I write to you regarding the upcoming public meeting (April
29th) about Manotick's Wastewater Treatment Plant. I
should say up-front that I am very much in favour of preventing
the needless decommissioning of this plant, and also in favour
of the small-bore option for Manotick's centralized
waste-treatment services (both for the core, and for Hillside
Gardens). However, I remain to be convinced that there is
any point in attending such a meeting given my understanding of
the decision making process in Ottawa City Hall:
Essentially it seems that City Staff are adamantly pro- Big
Pipe, and will veto any attempt to consider alternatives.
My frustration and pessimism on this issue stem from my
experience with the Hillside Gardens sewer petition.
Although it is clear that the Big Pipe solution has many
problems (as alluded to your meeting announcement), city
engineering staff made sure that it was the only option under
consideration. City staff insisted that local-treatment
was unproven, not approved for discharge into the Rideau
(despite the presence of the existing treatment plant in
Manotick), more expensive, would not scale as Manotick grew, and
in short, not ready for prime-time. City staff were so
negative on the small-bore option that the organizers of the
petition eventually removed it from consideration, and would not
even allow discussion of the technology to be used: They
became de facto proponents of the Big Pipe because they could
see that no other option would be seriously considered by the
City, and because they wanted to see a solution approved in
Frankly I was appalled that the Hillside Gardens petition
passed, given the rhetoric that was used (about the
environmental harm of Long Island's failing septic beds).
With the Big Pipe, the sewage will be transported many
kilometres (potentially leaking into the ground, as experienced
by the Town of Richmond) to a waste-treatment plant with a very
poor record which will then discharge into the Ottawa river.
Clearly, we are just exporting the environmental harm elsewhere,
but the frustrated organizers literally said "not our problem!".
Well, I do consider it to be our problem, but I'm not sure what
can be done at this point.
Your meeting announcement claims that local treatment would be
cheaper, cleaner, and faster to construct. Ottawa city
staff claim exactly the opposite. I know who I believe,
but realistically, I also know who will make the decision.
Public meetings, even if they show vast grass-roots support,
even if they convince our elected representatives, seemingly
have no effect on the opinions of city engineering staff.
Alas, it is City Staff who set the agenda when it comes to
infrastructure. Short of finding a bigger hammer and
hitting them with it (Mayor O'Brien, perhaps), the unelected
City Staff are seemingly under no obligation to listen to mere
members of the public. This disconnect is one of the main
sources of frustration in the Rural wards of Ottawa.
Witness the Minto vs. Manotick affair, where after public
consultation (resoundingly against the development) City Staff
recommended exceeding Manotick Secondary Plan growth limits by
more than five times, and will now be called before the OMB on
I would fully support expanding the current local-treatment
plant in Manotick (or building a new one with more capacity),
and hooking Hillside Gardens up to this plant using small-bore
collector sewers. Due to the passing of the Local Improvement
Petition, I will have no choice but to pay for the Big Pipe if
it is approved by City Council (and I live in one of the houses
that is below the grade of the sewer, so cannot even connect by
gravity feed!). I would rather see my money spent on a
more environmentally friendly (and cheaper!) solution, so I
would be extremely happy if City Council would move to
immediately re-consider the technology mandated by City Staff.
However, I continue to believe that this will not happen.
Although I am willing to be convinced otherwise, I now feel that
there is little point in adding my voice to this issue when City
Staff apparently does not listen.
Reply to Mr. Goodes from Richard Bendall,
Member of Rural
Council of Ottawa-Carleton:
From: Richard Bendall, Member,
Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton
To: Grant Goodes,
Subject: RE: Public Meeting:
Manotick's Wastewater Treatment Plant
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2008 17:30:12 +0000
Dear Mr. Goodes,
As a member of the Rural Council, I am going to the meeting today,
because it about so much more than big pipes v. small modern
technology for the Village of Manotick.
Our city engineers have a very wrong-headed attitude towards
wastewater treatment for our sprawling city, and it has already cost
us millions upon millions of wasted tax dollars. And the problem is
worsening exponentially. Our wastewater treatment approach is NOT
It’s all about the engineers’ fixation to stay with one central
failure-prone sewage treatment facility, instead of using multiple
treatment facilities that produce tertiary quality effluent, and
have built-in redundancy and back-up safety.
Communal systems are far safer, are more cost effective and are
What city engineers are foisting on us ...will put Ottawa
further and further behind modern cities like Calgary and Edmonton.
Your thoughtful letter tells me that we need your rational voice
at this meeting. Maybe when a groundswell of enlightened
ratepayers, such as you, speak out, our politicians will [hopefully
turn to] 21st Century tertiary wastewater treatment ...at ROPEC, and
[will] construct independent communal
systems in the satellite communities spread throughout this vast
area we call the Amalgamated City of Ottawa.
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the
only thing that ever has.”
(I guess that’s another way of saying, “If the people lead, the
leaders will follow.”)
Check out the Rural Council webpage on the subject:
Email from Richard Sandes,
concerned Hillside Gardens resident
Thursday April 10, 2008
sewers on hold
I sent the following email to Mr.
Doucet. Some important questions that should be put to the city
include the following:
1) how many Hillside Gardens
residents actually have failing septic systems? Does anyone know
really? As a Hillside Gardens resident, my septic system has never
been tested and I'm almost certain that most other septic systems
within the affected area have never been tested as well. So this
begs the question, how does the city know that Hillside Gardens is
in a desperate situation?
2) how many Hillside Gardens residents
actually plan to link up to the city's sewer system in the near or
distant future once it's installed ? Nobody seems to know because
nobody has bothered to do a proper survey. I would suggest that at
least 40% to 50 % will not link to the city sewer system in the near
future for a variety of reasons mostly financial. I certainly plan
to continue using my septic system until it breaks down as it is
very cost efficient and seems to work fine.
The city needs to determine how many
residents within Hillside Gardens will actually benefit from any
form of treatment system?
----- Original Message -----
Thursday, April 10, 2008 8:04 AM
Manotick’s sewers on hold
Dear Mr. Doucet,
As a resident of Hillside Gardens,
which is one of the affected areas in Manotick, I pleased to see
that at least one of our city councillors is asking all the right
questions. Don't forget that 28% (approximately 65 residents) of
Hillside Gardens residents voted against extension of sewer
services. Many of us have no plans to link up to city sewers even
if they are brought to Manotick. Our septic systems work perfectly
fine and very are cost effective and environmentally friendly. In
fact, I don't think the city even knows how many septic systems are
not working correctly in Hillside Gardens. The residents who are
complaining have known about the problem since the early 1970's and
have done nothing about it, hoping the city will pick up the tab.
There is also the speculative gang of residents who voted for
sewers hoping their property values would increase. I think the
number of residents that would actually link into the city sewers is
far less then the city anticipates. Many of us are on social
assistance or fixed pensions. We just can't afford it.
I am against the extension of sewer
services to Manotick until there is an extensive study to determine
if there is a more cost effective and environmentally friendly
alternative. I don't believe this has happened.
Concerned Hillside Gardens resident
Manotick resident points
to overwhelming logic
in favour of communal wastewater treatment
and the absence a single sound rationale for a
April 21, 2008
Dear [Rural Council]:
I am a resident of Manotick and have actively attempting to persuade
the City of Ottawa Councillors and the Mayor to take action against
this plan to connect Manotick to the City system.
After hearing the statistics on Saturday, I am appalled that our
City Public Works Department is still pushing for an absurd solution
to the sewage issue in Manotick. From an environmental perspective,
a cost benefit perspective and implementation schedule alone, the
City's position is wrong. There are countless other arguments to be
made against the movement to connect to the city infrastructure,
however on the basis of the three I mention this should suffice to
at least look at alternatives.
The money the city would save in not making the connection could be
used to partially fund the desperate improvements the City needs to
upgrade the ROPEC treatment facility.
As the capital city of this country it is shameful that we
collectively cannot make forward thinking decisions which would
position Ottawa as a leader in urban and rural development. Instead
we play the old game with the developers, and the developers tend to
win because they have more money and better connections at the city
than the average taxpayer.
The issue to connect Manotick to the City of Ottawa system is just
wrong....plain and simple. Every way anyone looks at it it is wrong.
On the eve of Council's
Mr. Colford appeals to his
Mayor and Councillor
to choose the communal option for
cost-saving reasons, for
because there would be
negligible disruption to
avoid adding more burden to the already non-compliant ROPEC
moderate the rate of urban sprawl
From: Frederick Colford
Subject: Sewer Connection - Manotick
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008
Dear Mayor O'Brien and Councillor Brooks:
Once again I am writing you to ask that you please not proceed with
the extension of the City of Ottawa sewers to Manotick. I have just
received a phone call from my home indicating that a surveyor
working on behalf of the City was measuring for connection to the
I am a reasonable person and am willing to accept a lot of
adversity, but this project is reaching the height of absurdity.
City Administration are running amok with taxpayers money, and it
appears that council is ready to agree with this direction, knowing
- From an environmental standard
this is totally contrary to good environmental stewardship
- From an economics perspective,
the cost of a small local treatment system is about 50% of the
cost of connecting to the city
- From a timely implementation
perspective, a local treatment system could be potentially
implemented and operational within approximately 8 months,
whereas the connection to the city will take a minimum of 18
months based on what city administration said directly to me.
- From a disruption perspective, a
local treatment system using small bore collectors would not tear
up all the streets in the village as would a connection to the
city system. Bear in mind that Manotick is the first river
crossing south of Hunt Club, and we already have serious traffic
- The current treatment plant at
ROPEC spills raw sewage into the Ottawa River on a regular basis
whenever our city receives in excess of 4mm. of rain. I also
understand the the Ministry of Environment has notified the
treatment plant, and the plant continues to dump raw sewage into
the Ottawa River.
I could go on but it starting to
sound like a broken record. what must we do to ensure that we as a
community take the high road in this case and put aside the hidden
agendas of those involved in this decision making process. If the
'Big Pipe' connection is made to Manotick you will have rung the
bell for all developers to hone in on this area an create a
labyrinth of urban sprawl, which totally contravenes the city
policies on intensification within the urban boundaries.
The village core of Manotick and the neighborhood of Hillside
Gardens can have their respective issues addressed in a timely,
effective, and environmentally friendly way, and the connection to
the 'Big Pipe' is not the ONLY answer.
The favour of a reply is requested.
Richmond resident's Letter to the Editor
of The Ottawa Citizen, April 23, 2008:
'Big Pipe' costly
The Ottawa Citizen
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Re: Manotick 'Big Pipe' a foolish
venture, April 13. [VIEW
I wouldn't trust the city staff's
estimates for Manotick's "Big Pipe." Years ago, prior to the
installation of Munster Hamlet's force main, city staff then had
estimated that it would cost less than $9 million. Council has never
given an official cost figure, but Mayor Larry O'Brien had estimated
the force main's cost at $30 million.
And why did Seprotech's Village
Walk facility function without incident for two years but then city
staff allegedly said it functioned improperly throughout 2006 and
2007? This question cannot be answered unless city staff provides
the data to support its claims and innuendoes about the village
In view of staff's inability to
accurately estimate pipe costs, I worry that city taxpayers might be
in line for a large bill for Manotick's "Big Pipe"? While solutions
are needed for the sewage problems facing Hillside Gardens and Main
Street merchants, might the real issue be about the city controlling
rural village's destiny by controlling "Big Pipes" and disregarding
local treatment options?
© The Ottawa Citizen 2008