February 19, 2014

SSMP completion could take at least until August

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Servicing and Settlement Master Plan (SSMP) process has been delayed once again, pushing the possible completion date into August, less than two months before the municipal election.

Consultants for the Town of Erin have had extensive discussions with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) regarding measurements of water flow in the Credit River. 

There were questions about CVC’s methods, after early indications that the capacity of the river to handle sewage plant effluent was lower than expected, which could limit housing development.

Matt Pearson of BM Ross, in a memo to the Town, said the discussions were “to achieve a comfort level with the calculations and modeling undertaken and to ensure that the capacity of the stream for receiving effluent was not under-calculated.”

That process is complete, but no new information has been made public. BM Ross will now use updated data to calculate various “assimilative capacity scenarios” that will then be discussed during February with CVC and the Ministry of the Environment. The goal is to determine a maximum number of new residents that the urban areas of Erin village and Hillsburgh could accept in the next 20-30 years.

The SSMP had been scheduled to wrap up in late spring. Here is the new plan for August completion, with what Pearson calls “critical decision points for Council that will dictate whether this is achieved”. All meetings, except those of the Core Management Team, are open to the public.

March 5 – Core Management Team to meet.March 20 – Council workshop to review growth options.April 1 – Council meeting, needing direction towards specific alternatives.April 9 – Liaison Committee to meet.May 14 or 15 – Council workshop to review costs.May 20 – Council to give direction on key elements of SSMP report.June 11 – Core Management Team and Liaison Committee meetings.July 16 – Council reviews draft SSMP report.July 23 – Draft SSMP report presented at a public meeting.August 5 – Council accepts Final SSMP Report.

From election nomination day on September 12, until the election on October 27, Council may be in a legal “lame duck” status, depending on how many current members are running for re-election to Town Council. If this is the case, Council will not be allowed to make major financial decisions during this period unless the spending is already in the budget or decisions have been delegated to staff. 

Depending on how many existing members are re-elected, the “lame duck” status may apply for several weeks after the election until any new members are sworn in.