There is a $13.2 million solution to the water problem in Dawn-Euphemia.
But the greenhouse developer who needs the water says it isn’t economically feasible.
Greenhill Produce of the Thamesville area planned a 100-acre greenhouse project on the corner of Oil Heritage Road and Edys Mills Line. They chose the site because of the availability of natural gas for heating and a waterline which runs along side the property. The greenhouse project was expected to create upwards of 250 jobs when it is completed.
As the company started planning, concerns were raised whether the waterline would be able to bring enough water for the greenhouse and provide the necessary water pressure for the rest of the municipality.
The Ministry of the Environment says 40 pounds per square inch of pressure must be maintained throughout the municipality at all times.
An engineer’s report which was to be presented to Dawn-Euphemia Council Monday says the water needs for even the first phase of the greenhouse would bring the water pressure for the rest of the township below the standard without any changes to the water system.
The second phase would drop pressure in the rest of the municipality to 22 psi and the final phase would not be possible.
“The more water we try to get out…the pressures were dropping significantly,” says Tom Montgomery of CIMA.
But Montgomery says there is a solution.
He says the first phase of project could go ahead if a larger 5.2 kilometre pipeline was built from near Oil Springs to the greenhouse site. But there would have to be more construction in the future.
An additional 23.7 kilometres of pipeline would have to be laid – in two phases – to allow the full project to move ahead. The engineer estimates that will cost $13.2 million.
Montgomery says there is a grant opportunity coming up and he believes a project with four municipalities would be more attractive.
Justin Geertsma of Greenhill Produce listened to the presentation, then asked whether there would be enough water for the project to begin.
“We wouldn’t recommend approval of the project until the 10 inch line (from Oil Springs to Edys Mills) is in,” Montgomery told him.
Geertsma left council chambers and spoke briefly to The Independent saying the project was “not economically feasable” now. “It’s not going to work.”
Greenhill put the 200 acres it purchased up for sale last month. When asked if the signs will stay up, Geertsma replied “Business moves forward.”
And while it appears this greenhouse project won’t move ahead, Mayor Al Broad wants to take a good look at the recommendations for future growth. “It is unfortunate we couldn’t get water for the first phase (of the Greenhill project) with what we have,” Broad told council.
“We still need to look into it,” he added. “I wouldn’t want to walk away from it…I want to see if there is room for all (municipalities) to get together and see what government funding is available for this project.”