I wonder sometimes, when we live in small communities like Wingham, Blyth, and Belgrave, how the rumour mill can stray so far from the truth? However, it appears that some people do not give their due diligence and investigate the facts. For example, quoting Neil Vincent who stated that the Howson Dam has been a non issue for years when, in fact, during his last term in office, the North Huron Strategic Plan indicated that money was to be put aside yearly to repair the dam in 2020, if needed. (zero dollars were put into that account.) Also, a previous mayor, Don Carter, had earmarked $200,000 for repairs to the dam as needed. (Which were never used for actual repairs.) Either Mr. Vincent forgot these facts or ignored them. These facts could have easily been found through responsible journalism!
Sharon Chambers, former CAO for North Huron, stated that it would cost one million dollars to decommission the dam or $500,000 to repair it. Obviously, she must have done some of her research on behalf of the Township.
Interestingly enough, B.M. Ross and Associates, (engineers) stated in March 2015 that “they could remove the old worn concrete and apply new reinforced concrete for the piers and aprons for $458,200 plus HST”. Mr. Ross prepared construction drawings for the work that would be required. He stated that, “Repairs do not lead to instability” and “All of the repairs detailed on the drawings will either be neutral to stability or improve stability.” On January 26,2020, Mr. Ross reiterated that the dam could still be repaired although there will be some inflation in the price and some further deterioration of the structure, which is to be expected. Given the face lift, Mr. Ross felt that “the structure would last for many, many years.”
I have not seen or heard of any other schematic plans for repairs to the dam, from any other engineering firm.
I understand that, with ever tightening budgets, some journalists might not be able to get out into the field and talk to any of the 59 people that recently sent in letters of support to have the dam repaired while there were only 3 letters from Wingham (2 from the Wingham BIA and one from the manager of MVCA) to have the dam decommissioned. Rather than just talking to “the old boys club” journalists need to get out and see if there is more that one side to a story and give both sides.
Anyone that has followed the Howson Dam and Pond Citizens Committee over the last 6 years knows that the Committee is ready and willing to raise the money for the repairs to the Howson Dam but has NEVER EVER asked for municipal tax money.
Most good journalists would look into the high costs of decommissioning a dam before suggesting this avenue.
For information on decommissioning a dam, check out the MNR guidelines. 1. Dam Decommissioning and removal
Table of contents, MNR 2011
2. Technical Bulletin for Dam Decommissioning and Removal
page 2, MNR 2011.
As a North Huron community, we need to work together. Blyth recently received $500,000 to upgrade the theatre. We all invested in that project and applaud them. Also, there was funding for walking trails, playground equipment, and the Hospital. This is what makes a community! Let the Citizens committee continue to make “our community” the best it can be.
Howson Dam & Pond Citizens Committee