Roads and Development Follow the Pipes

Readers might want to circle May 21 on their calendars. This is the date of a public Open House (Town Hall, 5 to 8 pm) to explain Council’s plan to form 2 arms-length “Municipal Service Corporations” (MSC) to build and manage water and sewage infrastructure.

Without going into a lot of detail, this is considered necessary because the Town will require large amounts of funding for ambitious water and waste-water expansion. However, Innisfil has neither the borrowing ability, (limited by legislation), or sufficient funds from development charges (DC). Developers usually pay DCs after construction while the money is required well in advance to install infrastructure first.

The following graph may be adequate to illustrate the magnitude of money being sought for water works in coming years:

WaterCapitalExp

Here’s a map to illustrate what this money will be paying for. The Town is focused on creating an “Economic District” employment area extending west of highway 400. Currently, septic systems are impractical and unaffordable to attract prospective companies to this area.

MSCMap

The newspaper notice of this Open House describes this project as “an exciting and ground-breaking opportunity … Servicing will attract more businesses to Innisfil Heights and more importantly secure local jobs for Innisfil’s future.” But there’s a little more to it. The Town’s earlier Municipal Servicing Plan included a “6th Line Campus Node”.

“Although the “official status” of the 6th Line Campus Node has yet to be incorporated into the Town’s Official Plan, the official Council minutes reflect a strong desire to create a future vision for the 6th Line through the creation of an educational/ medical/ institutional campus … in order to maximize the economic opportunities along HWY 400 corridor (Innisfil Heights) that a strategic investment in critical water and wastewater infrastructure would be required, including the servicing of the 6th Line.” (Town of Innisfil Staff Report, March 18, 2015)

Coincidentally, another Information Session takes place on May 28 (Town Hall, 5 pm to 8 pm) concerning the Environmental Assessment being made in preparation for widening the 6th Line to four lanes.

The projections to 2031 provided in the MSC report indicates that the number of non-residential (i.e. – business) water users would increase by 22% while residential users would increase by about 130% in the next 16 years. In the same period, residential water demand would increase by 112% while non-residential demand (commercial, industrial & institutional) would increase by about 8%. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the cost for this ambitious plan will be borne by residents through their water rates. The MSC expects to effectively finance the infrastructure costs and build up reserves for the maintenance of the proposed system.

While Council received a detailed Business Analysis making the financial case for a Municipal Service Corporation, it is all based on the assumption that the Innisfil Heights employment area (and projected expansion) is the right way to go. Part of me is still skeptical. How about you?

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5 thoughts on “Roads and Development Follow the Pipes

  1. Page A19 of the May 22nd issue of the Toronto Star Contains an article by Dr David Suzuki in which he says that Canada’s towns and cities are at a crossroads. He concludes the article by asking, What kind of cities do you want? As an experienced observer of the Barrie-Innisfil scene, I would appreciate your views on the Ontario Greenbelt Plan and its application to this area.

    • Thanks, I’ll have to look up that article. That’s a big topic! I think the consensus is that Places to Grow has failed to limit, much less stop, urban sprawl in Ontario. You might want to read my 2 earlier articles: “How Places to Grow Failed Innisfil”; and “Places to Grow – 5 Years Later”. Expanding the Greenbelt may help. We need firm settlement boundaries, more open space within built urban areas for multiple public uses, and changes to zoning rules and processes for starters.

  2. Well you asked Mike and here is what my recommendation to the taxpayers and voters of Innisfil is.
    Before these MSCs are considered further the Economic Development staff and senior Deputy CAOs and the CAO should fully detail out the list of prospective businesses that intend to locate here once this infrastructure is built. The list should detail when the lead came into the town’s offices and their current level of interest and seriousness of the company. The taxpayers have heard for too long promises of companies, stores and doctors and now a private school which supposedly are lined up to start operations in Innisfil so let’s see the prospect list of companies and their current level of interest in Innisfil. I would caution voters and taxpayers of Innisfil to be very careful being lead down this path which will cost more than two more kinetic wind sculptures. Also what are the overhead costs of these MSCs and what staff and staff costs are forecasted.

      • I see Barb’s amonymous spokesperson is upset. Perhaps the new MSC buildings could have artificial holiday festive trees in their lobbies at Christmas time. That would make David Suzuki and both the Two new CAOs happy who are sunshine list candidates and over paid on the taxpayer’s backs.
        Where is the prospective list of new companies and employers and jobs forthcoming Mr Anonymous???

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