Group felt North Huron Council had 'incorrect guidance' on dam
BY DENNY SCOTT
A group of concerned citizens feel that North Huron Township Council made a decision on the future of the Howson Dam without all the facts, however staff feel they have presented all relevant information.
During North Huron Township Council’s Monday night meeting, council received a letter from Rennie Alexander, Mitch Wright, Andy McBride, Ralph Metcalfe and Rob Hutchinson regarding council’s decision to remove the Howson Dam.
In the letter, the group says that council didn’t follow the recommendation of the committee of council that recommended rehabilitating the dam if possible. The group claims that council’s current course of action, to remove the dam, doesn’t align with the group’s recommendation since council hasn’t given enough time for a committee to raise funds to rehabilitate the dam.
In the letter, the group also claims that “Council was given incorrect guidance on [consultant Chant Engineering’s] findings.”
“Chant Engineer’s recommended option almost exactly matched the solution provided by Mr. White: to remove the south bridge and build a new structure of the existing dam,” the group wrote. “The basis of this incorrect guidance was that Chant Engineering and Mr. White used the terms ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘revitalization’ differently, however a review of the proposed Chant design clearly shows a practical solution for building a new structure on top of the existing dam.
“Based on this incorrect guidance, which was ‘there is no choice but to remove the dam’, council gave direction to issue an RFP to remove the dam,” the group wrote.
The group also claims that the RFP was amended incorrectly and would provide “grossly inflated” financial estimates to try and retain the pond.
Deputy-Reeve Trevor Seip asked if staff planned to respond to the letter and Director of Public Works Jamie McCarthy said staff could, if council wanted to pursue that.
Councillor Kevin Falconer said the letter was misleading, since the committee of council was dissolved and that council had made a decision already, as council has final say in the procedure.
He asked if the letter should have even fallen in correspondence, since the committee doesn’t exist anymore, though Clerk Carson Lamb pointed out the letter wasn’t identified as being from the committee but the individuals outlined above.
Seip said he felt a response was necessary especially since a claim was being made about the information on which council based its decision.
Reeve Bernie Bailey asked McCarthy to clear up the issue if possible before council discussed it further.
McCarthy said she would respond to the letter if council wanted to, however the committee has already been provided with all pertinent information. She said the group has received correspondence from not just herself but other individuals as well.
Falconer, who was part of the committee of council being discussed, said there had been no new information come forward since council had made its decision and said the group was only claiming the information was wrong because “it wasn’t their information.”
Seip said the committee had provided a recommendation and council made a decision so the issue was resolved from that standpoint, going on to say a response may not be necessary if the questions had been resolved already.
McCarthy said all the information that had been provided to council was available to the public. She did say there are some requests in the letters she can’t respond to because the process hasn’t moved forward enough, but that she provided all the information possible.
Council took no action as a result of the discussion.