Rural township eyes $57.3M waterworks project

Subcontractors are being sought for the design phase of a multi-million piping project intended to bring a new source of water into North Glengarry all the way from Cornwall, some 54 kilometres away.

The aim of project manager MHPM and the engineering design and consulting service firms, CH2M Hill Canada Ltd. and J.L. Richards & Associates Ltd., is to pipe water from the St. Lawrence River north to serve the communities of Alexandria and Maxville.

The project is proceeding in two phases. The design phase, at $3.1 million, will entail several tenders during the coming year, said Michael Paul, who is with MHPM, which won a $175,000 contract to procure the designer and manage the design. Through a competitive procurement process, led by MHPM, CH2M Hill won a $2.5 million contract to do the design work.

"As part of that proposal there are some studies that will be required: geotechnical, archaeological, environmental assessments. Those will be procured competitively (with) pricing in accordance with the township consumer policy," said Mr. Paul.

But progress on the project depends on provincial and federal funding, its proponents say, because the rural township cannot bear the entire cost itself.

The design phase received 90 per cent funding from the province and negotiations will soon commence to get the same level of funding for the main construction project, which costs some $54 million. Taken together, both phases will be $57.3 million.

That job will entail piping of between 250 and 450 millimeters, as well as pumping stations, a new water tank in Maxville, directional drilling and installing pipes in open trenches, among other things.

"That's the big push, you can imagine, with (the township), to secure the funding for the construction work," said André Bourque, who is with CH2M Hill. 

"We're busily working together to push the various levels of government to appreciate the importance of the project and get behind it."

The project is important both to allow for growth in the community and also to improve the quality of life for residents already there, said Daniel Gagnon, the chief administrative officer for the township.

Maxville residents currently rely on well water while those in Alexandria receive treated water from the Mill Pond, which is part of the North Glengarry system. But there have been complaints about water quality, which prompted the decision to pull the water from Cornwall.

Mr. Gagnon said the township is working on doing a cost-benefit analysis in the coming months, as well as engaging local MPs and MPPs.

It won't be just Alexandria and Maxville that could benefit, he added. The piping will run along roads all the way to the communities, opening up the opportunity to add other towns to the system in the coming years.

"It's a very critical project," he said. "The community could be doing a lot more development if it had better servicing."