UXBRIDGE: There are good things ahead for Durham Region as it celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014, although the future of development in Uxbridge Township remains unclear, Regional Chair Roger Anderson told Uxbridge council during his annual update last week.
Mr. Anderson appeared before council at their meeting on the evening of Monday, April 28 to provide a look back on work accomplished locally by the Region over the past year, as well as a look ahead to future projects in the municipality.
As has become the norm in recent years, council raised questions with regards to future development within the municipality, which has been hindered by capacity limitations at the Water Pollution Control Plant on Main St.
"At the Uxbridge Brook Water Pollution Control Plant, the Region is working to extract as much treatment capacity as possible to support residential development in the Uxbridge urban area," Mr. Anderson explained. "Last year, an effluent treatment filter was reconstructed to improve the plant's performance. This year, we will evaluate more potential measures to optimize the treatment of solids up to the full capacity of the plant, while still producing high-quality effluent. However, ultimately, we are limited by the volume of treated effluent that can be released into the Uxbridge Brook."
Later, Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor questioned whether alternative solutions to allow more residential development have been considered by the Region, leading Mr. Anderson to state that the solution may ultimately lie with the expansion of an underground sewer pipe line into Uxbridge.
"You and I both know that the only other solution would be bringing the big pipe up from the south," added Mr. Anderson. "I'm hoping we don't have to go down that road. But, if you want development, you need services."
Mayor O'Connor strongly opposed such construction, arguing that it could potentially open the doors to urban sprawl.
"I will fight the big pipe coming to Uxbridge," responded Mayor O'Connor. "That would mean continuos development from Stouffville to Uxbridge, and I don't think that's what our community is all about."
Development in the Uxbridge area has also been hampered in recent years due to restrictions as part of the Oak Ridges Moraine Act as well as the Greenbelt Plan. Mr. Anderson noted that this year, the region will be evaluating the impact of the Greenbelt Plan, including a series of public meetings and an on-line survey. Stakeholder information gathered by the Region will be used to develop the Region's recommendations for the upcoming provincial review of the Greenbelt Plan.
"I can't urge the residents of Uxbridge enough to go on our web site (www.durham.ca) and contribute their comments. I think we all know the good and bad of the Greenbelt Plan, and comments from local residents will be very important going forward as part of our recommendations as a Region," Mr. Anderson added.
Mr. Anderson also addressed concerns from councillors regarding future representation from the three North Durham municipalities on regional council.
Recently, there has been a movement from several South Durham municipalities to redistribute seats on regional council based on population. However, Mr. Anderson was confident that the three North Durham municipalities (Uxbridge, Brock and Scugog) will continue having two representatives apiece on regional council.
"Does regional council have to be restructured? Probably. Do seats have to be redistributed? Probably. Does it need to be downsized? Not necessarily," said Mr. Anderson. "But, no matter what you do, Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock always have to have six total votes. It would be very hard for anyone to convince me otherwise."
Mr. Anderson also highlighted upcoming road projects in the township being undertaken this year by the Region's Public Works Department.
According to Mr. Anderson, the Region will be rehabilitating the stretch between Conc. 5 and 6 on Sandford Rd. this year, as well as tendering work that will be carried out on Regional Rd. 39 next year. The Region has also allocated $600,000 for upcoming projects such as the Siloam Bridge replacement, and will invest $460,000 in traffic signals and guide rails at seven locations in Uxbridge Township, including the intersection of Conc. 7 and Durham Rd. 21.
With Durham Region celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, Mr. Anderson invited all residents to the celebration on June 26 at Regional Headquarters on Rossland Rd. in Whitby.
"All of the Region's residents should come and tour our facilities and enjoy a barbecue at this free event."