By Chad Ingram
The Township of Minden Hills will enact its septic re-inspection program this year, becoming the last of the county’s four lower-tier municipalities to commence its mandatory inspection program.
While the requirement for the programs comes from the provincial government, the design and process of each program is up to individual municipal governments. Minden Hills has hired firm WSP Canada to complete its program, the company also used by the Township of Algonquin Highlands and the Municipality of Dysart et al for their respective programs.
As consultant Paisley McDowell told Minden Hills councillors during an April 8 online meeting, when it comes to lakes that straddle municipal boundaries, the company will schedule inspections so that residents of a particular lake all have their inspections completed during the same year.
“In particular, we have lakes that are being split across Dysart and Minden Hills,” McDowell said. “We really wanted to make those the same year, so that we didn’t have any neighbours disrupted and potentially confused about when their year was for the program.”
Properties are scheduled to be inspected during a phased, five-year period. The first zone, where septic system inspections will be performed this year, includes Gull and Moore lakes and surrounding areas south of Minden. The second year of the program will see inspections take place in the areas around Mountain, Horseshoe and Duck lakes. The third year, 2023, will include inspections for the areas of Canning, Kashagawigamog and Soyers lakes. The fourth year will include inspections in the areas of Twelve Mile and Little Boshkung lakes; along the stretch Bobcaygeon Road north of Minden; Carnarvon; and sections of the former Anson township north of Highway 118. The fifth and final year of inspections in 2025 will focus on the former Snowdon township, including Lochlin, Gelert, Irondale and surrounding areas.
Letters will be mailed to all property owners in the township shortly, and letters with more specific details about registering and preparing for inspections will be sent to those property owners who are scheduled to inspections in 2021.
While normally the process would begin with a large public education meeting, WSP will provide an online information session in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The upfront costs for the township – including fees paid to the firm for scheduling, mapping, risk assessment, public education, etc., as well as labour, legal and supplies costs – have totalled $82,500.
Conducted on a cost-recovery basis, the lid-off inspections will cost property owners $240; a $225.55 fee per site, as well as a $15 administration fee, designed to cover the township’s in-house costs for administering the program. If property owners wish to use a firm other than WSP, they have the option do so, however, that will ultimately cost more money. The $225 site fee and $15 administration fee will still apply, and there will also be a third-party inspection review fee of nearly $150.