Comments, Letters and Presentations
by Manotick Residents

(before and since the April 19, 2008 Public Peeting)

An open letter from Bob McKinley
The ugly truth about Manotick’s central servicing history 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 River.

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.

 Bob McKinley

Presented by Brian Grover to ARAC Committee on March 31, 2008:

ARAC Committee – March 31, 2008

Agenda Item #3 re Manotick Infrastructure

Intended Speaking Points by Commentator Brian Grover


  • Resident of Manotick Core Area and supporter of sewer petition
  • Retired 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 investors


  • Strong 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 success)
  • 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)
  • Concerned 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 problems
  • Very 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 $millions
  • A realistic economic evaluation of alternative systems is needed before the multi-million dollar decision for sewers in Manotick is finalized. Both capital and operating costs need to be considered. Incremental operating costs for the “big pipe” solution included much extra pumping, as well as treatment of extra sewage. However, a treatment plant in Manotick could produce high quality effluent for local use (irrigation, street cleaning, etc.) and reduce the current costs of importing high quality drinking water from Ottawa for local use. Such operating costs and benefits are substantial and must be considered, along with all capital costs, in a proper evaluation
  • I recommend that a new desk study be initiated promptly by the City, aided by competent consultants, to compare the “big pipe” solution with lower cost options, including small bore sewers in both priority areas, as well as a local treatment plant. No new data are needed, so no serious delays should result. Comparative study of few months duration can be completed while final site surveys and tender documents are in preparation, capable of being used for whatever technical solutions are decided
  • Very large potential savings ($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
  • Final 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 amalgamated Ottawa
  • 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:

Ø      “Communities 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)

Ø      Four requirements must be met re the consideration of alternative solutions to the “big pipe” solution:

1.      Construction must be completed within the same/similar time

2.      There has to be significant savings for the property owner and city

3.      Significant less impact on the village business core and environment

4.      long term liability must be clearly stated (March 26)


1.      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

2.      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. 

3.      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

Submitted by Brian Grover to each member of Council,
prior to their April 9th meeting

Wastewater Management Decision for Manotick


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.


Randall Denley’s 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.

Our Manotick 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.

Conventional 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 operate

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.

Small bore 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.

A completely 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 satisfaction.

Council’s Dilemma

Pressures are 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.

Other residents, 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?

A Possible Solution

Council 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.

Would this 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 selected.

Cost savings 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.

Would Manotick residents - and other taxpayers throughout Ottawa – benefit from the transparency and accountability implicit in this possible solution? Absolutely!

Councillors, you face a difficult situation. Why not opt for a creative compromise?

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 alternatives.

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.

Submitted by David Edey to each member of Council,
prior to their April 9th meeting

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 longer-term profitability.
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 money.
"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 unappetizing.
"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 issues."
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 there, already.
David Edey

Submitted by Grant Goodes to Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton,
prior to 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 their lifetimes!

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 Minto's behalf.

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.


Grant Goodes

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 sustainable!

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 environmentally friendly.

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 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:


Richard Bendall


Email from Richard Sandes, concerned Hillside Gardens resident
Thursday April 10, 2008

Subject:  Manotick’s 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 -----
From: Richard Sandes   
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 8:04 AM
Subject: 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.  

Richard Sandes
Concerned Hillside Gardens resident

Manotick resident points to overwhelming logic
in favour of communal wastewater treatment for Manotick,
and the absence a single sound rationale for a 'big pipe':

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.


Frederick Colford

On the eve of Council's important decision:

Mr. Colford appeals to his Mayor and Councillor
to choose the communal option for environmental reasons,
for cost-saving reasons, for speed of implementation,
because there would be negligible disruption to businesses, to
avoid adding more burden to the already non-compliant ROPEC
and to moderate the rate of urban sprawl in Manotick.

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 'Big Pipe'.
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 that :

  1. From an environmental standard this is totally contrary to good environmental stewardship
  2. From an economics perspective, the cost of a small local treatment system is about 50% of the cost of connecting to the city
  3. 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.
  4. 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 issues.
  5. 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.

Frederick Colford

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 HERE]

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 effluent.

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?

Doug Arnold,

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008