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Alternate Approval Process for Wastewater Upgrades Passed

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The Village of Cumberland can move forward with borrowing required to complete the Wastewater Upgrades Project, with the successful completion of an Alternate Approval Process (AAP) on June 11.

The AAP, or counter-petition, was open from May 1 to June 11, 2024, asking Cumberland residents if they approve of borrowing an additional $2.5 million to cover cost increases on the critical infrastructure improvements at the Village’s wastewater treatment facility.

Seventeen electoral responses were submitted in opposition to the proposed borrowing – below the 10 per cent (348) threshold that would have prevented approval of the borrowing bylaw.

The Wastewater Upgrades Project – which is required to meet provincial treatment standards and avoid future fines – has been underway since 2021. A series of factors have impacted its budget including increased materials costs, unexpected site conditions, and partial re-design to address climate resiliency. As a result, the cost of Phase 1 increased from $14.5 million to $16.7 million.

“An increase in this budget was obviously not something anyone wanted, but this is a critical project which is clearly necessary to the future health of our Village and our environment,” said Mayor Vickey Brown. “Thank you to residents for supporting this continued work.”

The $2.5 million to be borrowed will cover the increase in cost, and provide a buffer for further changes. It will result in an increase of $113/year to the proposed wastewater parcel tax that will start in 2026. This is in addition to the borrowing previously approved in 2018 for an estimated parcel tax of $199/year – bringing it to a total estimate cost of $312/year.

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