Latest Information on Pumping Station and Kilworth Wastewater Treatment Facility

Map of Kilworth, Ontario
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This is the current lay of the land. Middlesex Centre (MXC) staff and Council all want to see the Kilworth WWTF decommissioned as quickly as my neighbours who live even closer to it than I do, and are affected by it more than me. I can walk there in three minutes. I sympathize.

If you have follow-up questions after reading recent information from the Kilworth-Komoka Ratepayers Association and this post, or something you saw on Facebook, I would be happy to do my best to clear anything up for you. My contact information can be found on MXC’s website.

Some Background

The Kilworth Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was upgraded in 2008 to use the membrane technology currently in use. At the time, the upgrade was done to handle all existing Kilworth wastewater flows. MXC’s Master Servicing Plan – dated April 2010, prepared by Stantec Consulting, and endorsed by the Council at the time – recommended that all future growth of Kilworth be supported by a new pumping station, as identified in the Kilworth Wastewater Outlet Schedule ‘B’ Class Environmental Assessment dated November 27, 2013, which was prepared by Delcan. This new pumping station is planned to be located within South Winds Development’s Edgewater Estates subdivision.

Once they are built, the new pumping station and forcemain will support all existing and future wastewater flows from Kilworth, which will ultimately be pumped to the recently expanded (2011) Komoka WWTF.

What’s Happening Now

The costs associated with building the new Kilworth pumping station and forcemain will, in the end, be shared three ways between MXC, South Winds, and Don Black Investments, with the costs being divided based on wastewater flow contribution. As I’m writing this, MXC remains in negotiation over the subdivision and cost sharing agreement with South Winds. Construction cannot proceed before the agreement is finalized and signed by all parties, at which time all required subdivision servicing will be completed to said pumping station.

Once the proposed works are constructed, the Environmental Compliance Assessment (ECA) recently received from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) does not have an expiry date. Based on the recommendations of the Natural Environment Report detailed in the Environmental Assessment, the timing of actual construction activities should be restricted to between October 1 and March 15 to avoid adverse affects on aquatic ecosystems, ground animals, and nesting activities of sensitive bird species that are present in Komoka Provincial Park.

Therefore, as soon as we can get shovels into the ground, we will. We have every hope, and anticipate, this will start in 2017. However, as stated above, there are a few more kinks to work out in the subdivision and cost sharing agreement. If there was a way to move more quickly, I assure you we would have pursued it by now. But have heart, we will get it done!

What to Expect in 2017 from Middlesex Centre

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Well, in a highly unexpected twist of circumstances (1, 2, 3), I was appointed Ward 4 Councillor in Middlesex Centre on November 30, 2016. You can see the municipality’s press release here.

During the months of November and December, I had the opportunity to hear from many residents already on a number of issues. Some I am supportive of, others I’m not. That is the nature of discourse, and perfectly reasonable. I wanted to highlight a few key measures I voted on during my first few meetings, and what to expect from the Municipality of Middlesex Centre (MXC) and me during 2017.

  • There was a vote to ask a consultant, Nigel Bellchamber, to participate in the interview process for the new Fire Chief. I don’t have any against Mr. Bellchamber, but it seemed there were already too many people involved, and Mr. Bellchamber had already provided a great report on what our firefighters and District Chiefs would like to see in a Chief. I voted no on spending additional money to hire Mr. Bellchamber, but the vote passed to ask him to join the hiring process.
  • Council voted to approve spending $30,000 from the Delaware Hydro Reserve Fund (no impact to taxes whatsoever) to help pay for a new floor at the Delaware Community Centre. We’re hoping that will be ready before Canada Day.
  • Rob Clarke Auto’s expansion was approved, and they have already started building two additional bays. It’s very nice to see a local business, located in Kilworth, grow!
  • Council voted to freeze water and wastewater rates for 2017. No, they aren’t going down, but the cost cutting measures taken in 2016 have enabled us to freeze the rates for this year. It’s a welcome reprieve from multiple years of increases.
  • Staff produced a report on whether fees for paper bills should be enacted. They found no evidence of other municipalities charging a fee for residents to receive paper utility bills, and therefore recommended MXC not being doing so. Council approved the recommendation, but it’s worth noting that water/wastewater bills will be sent out monthly going forward.
    • Yes, moving to a monthly bill increases mail costs a bit, but will also help families manage their budgets more easily. The more families that move to receiving their water/wastewater electronically, whether through Canada Post ePost or email directly from the Municipality, the lower our costs will be overall. You’re welcome to call the municipal office and get signed up for email bills, or use your online banking site to sign up for ePost.
  • We had a very contentious issue over online/phone voting for the 2018 municipal election. I was happy we used this system for voting in 2014, however the extensive research I have done on online voting, the discussions I have had with web development professionals, and even my attempts to design (on paper) a truly secure system that provides all the benefits of a paper ballot have all led me to have a very specific set of thoughts on the matter. Unfortunately, questions I asked like whether or not InteliVote’s code had been audited independently, could not be answered during the debate on December 14, 2016. The vote to continue using InteliVote passed, with me voting no only because I wanted answers to my questions first.
    • It’s worth noting that, at this time, MXC has not voted to introduce other voting systems, like ranked balloting. Given the dearth of contests in the 2014 election, I don’t think it would have benefited us. Hopefully there’s more competition in 2018!
  • I have fielded multiple, valid complaints from residents on the quality of snow maintenance so far this winter. The up/down temperature cycles haven’t helped, but you can easily see inconsistencies in how sand or salt has been laid down, how close (or far) to the curb the plows are getting, and so on. I’ve been actively engaging with staff to ensure your concerns are addressed, and so far it does appear things have gotten better during the last plow. I absolutely want to hear from you, and so does staff, if you have concerns regarding snow maintenance.
  • Lastly, I voted no to continue using our own closed meeting investigator. I wanted to opt for the Ombudsman instead, however I was not able to convince the rest of Council that this was, in my opinion, the right thing to do. I have heard from residents that choosing our own closed meeting investigator makes it look like we’re seeking preferential treatment, and that such a person can be dismissed at a whim if we don’t like what they say, like the integrity commissioner that was recently dismissed (which ultimately started the chain reaction that led to me ending up on Council). If you feel similarly, I implore you to speak with the Mayor and your Councillor and ask them to stop spending $1,000 a year on a service we have not used.

What to Expect in 2017

  • I’m going to be asking staff to do some homework later this year to see if we can lower the minimum water and wastewater usage rates, and what implications that will have.
  • I will help staff to find, and make suggestions on new measures, to continue to cut costs. I’m not out to slash and burn, but always looking at things critically to determine whether products/services we purchase, or services we provide, can be done at a lower cost.
  • I’m going to hold multiple sit-downs at local restaurants where you can come and sit down, enjoy a drink, and speak with me face-to-face. Expect the first one to happen before the end of March.
  • I’m confident that Edgewater Estates will be approved to move forward, and the construction of the new sewer line to Komoka will finally begin. Once that’s done and in service, the Kilworth Treatment Plant will be decommissioned, relieving many residents of awful smells throughout the year.
  • I have two residents, in particular, who are seeking relief from various bylaws. One, I am assisting to allow them to plead their case; the other is in clear violation of the Infrastructure Design Standards, and not allowing the developer of their subdivision to hand over control to MXC, but doesn’t seem to care. You can’t please everyone.
  • The new Ilderton Skating Park will begin construction.
  • MXC is replacing existing vehicles with three fully electric vehicles. I’m really excited about this! They will be shared by two departments, Public Works & Engineering and By-Law Enforcement & Building Inspections.
    • January 11, 2017: I previously stated we were buying two vehicles. This was incorrect.
  • We will receive a report from staff on the result of the off-leash dog park pilot program.
  • Finally, the website is undergoing a bit of a restructuring to make things easier to find. I’ve offered my assistance, providing advice where I can, given my role at a web development firm in London and experience building my own websites over the past 15 years.

Overall, you can expect to get regular updates like these from me, at least monthly. I want everyone to be in the loop on decisions being made that impact Ward 4, and the rest of MXC. If you have any questions at all you can reach me on Twitter, Facebook, email, or phone 226-448-6774 (please leave a message if I don’t answer). My contact information is also on the municipal website.

Kilworth PPM Re: Revised Zoning for New Subdivision

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I attended last week’s public meeting regarding a revised re-zoning request being put forth for the Don Black lands. If you missed the first go around back in December 2013, just click here to see what happened then.

This most recent zoning application was a very, very different story from the first. On a side note, I was pleased to see some new faces amongst the crowd in attendance: some people I know but haven’t seen at a meeting before, some people that have recently moved to Kilworth, and others who have chosen to engage at this point.

For reference, here’s the public information packet. I’m hosting it myself since I don’t know how long the municipality will leave it up on their website. This was the information distributed to council and the public prior to the meeting – council only received it on May 22, just five days before the public meeting.

dbi-tridon-may272015-zoning-amendmentI was a few minutes late for the presentation from Tridon (who has replaced Stantec on the project). Here’s what I got from the presentation:

  • Asking for duplex, twinned, single detached, townhouses in the UR3 areas
  • Minimum 28m height is a typo, should read “maximum”
  • Claim that there will be three multi-use pathways – Daventry, Doan Drive, and the main north/south drag that will connect the South Winds Dev and Don Black dev, up to Glendon
  • Took inspiration from new 3-story walkup near Masonville for Block I
  • Talking about the school like it’s definitely going to be there; not a done deal, despite school board (which one?) expressing interest
  • Municipal staff asking to enhance Optimist Park; DBI/Tridon ready to place one or two soccer fields at Optimist Park; have retained park planner to help sort out the plan
  • Need to widen Glendon at two points, where new north/south street comes out and at Springfield Way

Questions I wrote down during the presentation (answers later):

  • Why is there such a massive difference between the proposal from December 2013 and this latest proposal?
  • It’s been almost 18 months since the original proposal came through. Why are we still at a phase where, really, there is no detail as to exactly what Don Black Investments and Tridon want to put on the land?
  • Who will pay for the streetlights on Glendon, and the eventual enhancement of Glendon/Vanneck/Coldstream/Jefferies (a.k.a. Five Corners)?

Questions and Answers:

  • Got clarification on what setback means, and they want to reduce it from 6m to 2.5m
  • Ken D. asked whether the traffic study had included cyclists or not; it didn’t
  • I followed up and asked why it hadn’t, and the answer was that the original study was very old and Tridon has never seen a traffic study that included cyclists
  • Al D is concerned about traffic, another 120 cars in the current development area; probably looking at ~1,000 cars mostly heading to London
  • Brian Lima, municipal engineer, municipality is looking at EA for Glendon Dr from bridge to 402, focus will be streetscape development; EA will produce baseline info to evaluate how to handle Glendon Dr
  • Mayor Edmondson says the want to get EA done before development starts
  • Al D asked when construction will start; Tridon went over the process, wastewater treatment pipeline still needs to be finished; hoping to have first housing done late 2016 or early 2017
  • Brian Lima says earliest EA will be complete is early 2017
  • Jane C, lives on Komoka Rd; does not support bylaw amendment application; OFA is calling for protection of multiple kinds of land, including this farm property; has a history with Tridon and protesting the way they do development in Komoka and her aunt’s land; much applause
  • Darren on behalf of Ratepayers Association; “I’m for development, but not this development. This development completely changes the face of Kilworth.” Lots of consistency now from river up to Stephen Moore and Baron Cres; and then there’s this proposal; pointing out how other developments by the same company are 40′ wide, 36′ wide, and 34′ wide; this is not for Kilworth
  • Ian T; how many more people is this going to bring? Average of 2.1 per household, but no one at Tridon wanted to do the math for us and give us a total number, potentially because the number of households to be built is still up in the air(?)
  • Zelinka Priamo representative (didn’t catch her name) has a problem with additional C1 (commercial) proposed as a big C1 hub is supposed to go on NE corner of Tunks and Glendon
  • New planning justification not submitted because DBI feels this is the same development with minor tweaks; this woman has been working on planning applications for 30 years and has never seen an application with such a huge lack of information
  • Jim C asks “Can I split an existing lot into a triplex?” Mayor says, “I don’t think you’d want that.” Jim responds “Exactly,” to a bit of laughter.
  • Victor N just moved here from Tecumseh, daughter suggested it as a beautiful area; retired from Canada Post management; seniors centre will likely be 3 or 4 floors, and many of those seniors won’t be able to get their mail; this plan will turn Kilworth into an area that’s no longer nice; no shopping, no buses; doesn’t make sense
  • Donna S is concerned that this doesn’t suit the existing neighbourhood; mentioned the 3 storey walkup in Masonville – it’s ugly, doesn’t belong here; very worried about traffic
  • How many cars is anticipated to exit onto Glendon Dr? 995 during AM peak time.
  • Parking and visitor parking would be put in place as per the bylaw(s) that require them

Answers to my questions:

  • The design is drastically different because the municipality asked us to go from two entrances to Glendon, down to one
  • Don’t have any idea what we want to market on C1 and some UR3 properties because we don’t have the zoning yet
  • Chances are that the conditions laid out by the County will say that the developer must pay for the new streetlights and enhancements to “Five Corners”

Later on I got a chance to read a statement I had prepared. It ended up being the final word of the night, though I didn’t intend it to be so. I was asked to cede the floor to others earlier in the night after asking my questions I had written down. The statement went, more or less, as follows:

I have some serious misgivings about the revised proposal being presented here today. Here are a few:

  1. This looks *nothing* like the original proposal presented December 4, 2013.
  2. I will say, on a positive note, that Daventry Way has been opened up. I appreciate that being taken into consideration after the last public participation meeting.
  3. On the other hand, the original proposal maintained a lot of flow with the existing settlement, and proposed wide path ways that would encourage active transport around the neighbourhood. In the documents we see today, those have been completely done away with.
  4. It appears that a 6 storey building is proposed for Block G. I fully understand the need for mixed housing, however a 6 storey building simply doesn’t make any sense outside of a larger community like Strathroy. People living in apartment buildings typically expect highly walkable areas, which, much as I enjoy living in this area, Kilworth and Komoka do not qualify as highly walkable areas, with Kilworth currently receiving a Walk Score of 9.
  5. The proposal doesn’t appear to contain anything that would significantly alter the Walk Score.
  6. Information about proposed heights for several blocks are missing from the proposal.
  7. The street design, frankly, is pathetic and will make the proposed settlement a nightmare to navigate. It doesn’t use the current set of best practices being used in the most walkable neighbourhoods worldwide.

Overall, this proposal simply contains far too much density for the area. I was mostly in favour of the original, but this has taken a drastic turn for the worse. I was happy to defend the original proposal, despite its minor flaws, but I cannot, in good conscience, ask Councillor DeViet to vote in favour of this proposal as it stands before us today.

That got a round of applause, as did many other statements made and questions asked by members of the public throughout the night. Mayor Edmondson had a hard time maintaining order at several points as people got fed up with the answers – and in some cases non-answers provided by Tridon. Needless to say it didn’t go well for Tridon and Don Black, and we hope the next version of the zoning application is very different. Whether the planner, Ben Puzanov, mandates another public meeting for the next iteration remains to be seen.

On Safety

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As we reach the beginning of the voting period, I wanted to talk about safety in Middlesex Centre, and specifically Ward 4.

Over the next 10 years there is going to be a great deal of road reconstruction happening. We have an infrastructure funding gap of roughly $42,000,000 worth of infrastructure repairs that need to be addressed as soon as possible, and roughly another $43,000,000 worth of infrastructure repairs that need to be addressed over the next 10 years.

In that infrastructure there will no doubt be roads that need to be repaired and rebuilt. I asked municipal staff recently whether any of those roads were slated to include bike lanes, and I got this response:

“At the present time, no specific bike lanes / routes have been slated for inclusion with any one particular reconstruction project.”

As a pedestrian, cyclist, and driver, I find this extremely disappointing. The staff member goes on to remind me that bikes can share the road with vehicles, and while that’s true it’s not really a solution. All over the world we’re seeing municipalities of every size embracing dedicated bike lanes as part of a solution towards making roads safer, for both cyclists and drivers, and yet we have none slated here in Middlesex Centre.

Additionally, there are a host of issues we need to explore and determine how to resolve. These are the types of issues and potential solutions people are discussing with me:

  • Replacing intersections like Glendon and Vanneck/Jefferies with roundabouts
  • Paving the shoulders of Glendon Drive and installing bike lanes – this would make the road safer for all users
  • Replacing some STOP signs with YIELD signs – this has been shown to be effective in some situations
  • Incorporating/mandating the “complete streets” philosophy in new developments and reconstructions
  • Curbing speeding in residential areas — ideas here include introducing speed bumps, reducing the standard speed limit to 40kph, building narrower streets, etc.
  • Installing a traffic mirror at the Coldstream Rd underpass
  • The school crossing at Fieldrun Drive and Oxbow Drive could also include installing rumble strips, increasing police presence for an extended period of time, eliminating the back-and-forth with the TVDSB and funding a crossing guard, and so on.

We have to put a stop to the rising number of collisions on our roads, and some of this will include coordination with the County and even the City of London. Ultimately we continue to see mitigation methods put in place that are not working, with little follow-up, or a lack of communication about what else can be done.

You love living in this area. I do too. And that’s why safety is so important to me, to you, our children, and even adults who are trying to stay active. We can do better!

Together we can build communities that are connected, respected, and protected. Vote for Derek Silva for Councillor of Ward 4!

On Communication

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Almost every time I speak to someone about my campaign for Councillor of Ward 4, especially when canvassing, I talk about communication. Middlesex Centre does occasionally sending out the CentreLine, a small feel-good pamphlet about things happening around the municipality. It’s mostly fluff though – the last one talked about the new splash pad, public skating rates at the arena, etc.

Where’s the newsletter or pamphlet about the serious stuff? Where are the public announcements (other than the website) about public participation meetings? Where is the easy-to-access mechanism for feedback on things like new subdivisions, or to see how your Councillor voted on an issue?

The reality is that it isn’t there. These things simply do not exist now in Middlesex Centre, and it is time that changed.

As Councillor of Ward 4, I pledge to:

  • Hold quarterly town halls where citizens can ask questions, and I will answer them as best I can
  • Send out a regular newsletter that details recent Council decisions, important decisions coming up, how I plan to vote and why, along with background info
    • I have already begun collecting email addresses for this newsletter while canvassing, and you can add yourself to it at the top of the page! I will only use this list in the event I’m elected Councillor.
  • Send out notifications about upcoming public participation meetings
  • Send recaps of public participation meetings and other major meetings
  • Write regular blog entries about upcoming municipal business, where I stand and why — residents will be able to comment here and provide feedback
  • Introduce a measure to implement an online platform to easily view issues up for debate, background info, and even citizen voting on those issues — the current method of viewing PDFs is not efficient, or sufficient (e.g. DemocracyOS and Loomio)
  • Introduce a measure to implement a metric-tracking system similar to the City of St. Albert’s StATRACKER
  • Introduce a measure for Middlesex Centre to look at duplicating the State of Iowa’s snow plow tracker system across the county – this would be a partnership with the county, other nearby municipalities, and the City of London
    • This is about safety, yes, but also about being transparent with regards to how well snow removal is happening and where the plows are; I think it would set a great example to lead on something we all know is coming every year in this great nation of ours.
  • Introduce a measure to explore live streaming committee and council meetings, as well as archiving them online
    • This would benefit residents and the press as well, providing a reference for any statements made by Councillors or confusing back-and-forths
    • I would like to keep the initial capital expense for this initiative under $1,000 and use an existing service that would make this far less expensive than how other municipalities handle live streaming

And really, these are just some of the things we can do. I have already made myself available via Twitter, Facebook, email, phone, and even at home. I will continue to re-visit the most popular methods and make sure that the mediums residents use, I use also. I want to be your representative. I want to find out what’s important to you. Only together can we build communities that are connected, respected, and protected.