November 27, 2013

Mill Pond Committee wants to save mill pond

As published in The Erin Advocate

The citizen committee studying the Hillsburgh mill pond issue has presented council with a recommendation to save the pond and repair the existing roadway and bridge at the Station Street dam.

The committee reviewed various pro and cons for each of several possibilities, and supported preservation of “existing aesthetics, social, recreational and tourism uses” as well as maintaining current heritage value, wildlife habitat and wetlands.

Preserving the pond would avoid changes to the water table, maintain flood control and respect the rights of area landowners while improving public safety, the committee said.

They acknowledged the plan would cost more than removing the dam and draining the pond, that warm pond water is not ideal for downstream habitat, that there is increased liability in owning a dam and that having the control structure on private property is a problem.

They recommended that the Town not buy the pond and control structure and not relocate the roadway to the Elora-Cataract Trailway. They also rejected the idea of doing nothing, since it would increase the chances of dam failure and violate a provincial order to find a solution.

They said the Town should seek legal advice on issues they had discussed in closed session regarding landowner water rights.

Mayor Lou Maieron suggested that the committee do further study of the issues, but council received the recommendations without asking for more work by the committee. Council will debate the issues once again when they attempt to make a decision on the issue.