TSW gets $285M boost
$17 million designated for county’s dams
By Angelica Blenich
Barry Devolin says he doesn’t often use the word delighted, but when he gets more than a quarter of a billion dollars in funding for his riding the word seems more than appropriate.
The MP made the announcement in various locations across his riding this past weekend, stopping in Minden on June 20 to announce $285 million in infrastructure upgrades for the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Of that funding, $17 million will go towards repairing or replacing dams and bridges within Haliburton County, including the Kennisis Lake dam, Haliburton, Redstone West, Victoria Road, Norland Lake, Eels Lake East, Twelve Mile Lake, Halls Lake, Hawk Lake, Red Pine Lake and Horseshoe Lake.
Area bridges to receive upgrades are the Eagle Lake Bridge and Whites Lake bridge near Gooderham.
The biggest expense within the county will be the Kennisis Lake dam, where work has already begun to repair the aging infrastructure, following a funding announcement last fall. In total the dam will cost about $4.9 million, said Devolin.
“It will be completely rebuilt and replaced and it will be pinned,” he said.
The announcement follows years of effort for Devolin, who was part of a working group created to examine the needs of the TSW over the past few years.
“When I was elected in 2004 ... it was pretty clear to everybody that the Trent-Severn Waterway had been underfunded on the capital side for years,” said the MP.
The committee compiled a report titled It’s All About the Water, which included an analysis of the TSW and an estimate of $280- to $290-million needed for the waterway.
The MP said in recent years it became more apparent how badly the TSW needed to be addressed, particularly after the Minden flood in 2013.
“One of the reasons I wanted to come here today ... if you recall the water was within about four inches of that header on the bridge,” said Devolin, pointing to the Bobcaygeon Road bridge in downtown Minden. “What was recognized is if the water had risen and started pushing on that, that whole bridge could have washed away, which would have been a logistical nightmare for Minden and another huge cost.”
Following the flood, Parks Canada sent in a team to review the affected structures and whether further damage had been done, said Devolin.
It was through this analysis the infrastructure needs became more apparent, which put an onus on the federal government, said Devolin.
“We were told about two months ago that the government finally had developed its comprehensive response to this,” he said. “This is not only the biggest capital announcement in my 11 years, but it’s also, in this region, a quarter of a billion dollars that’s going to get spent.”
In addition to infrastructure improvements, $1 million of the funding will go towards updating the water monitoring equipment and to build a better computer monitoring system to manage the water.
“The system that the Trent-Severn is currently using is essentially what they’ve been using for 100 years,” said Devolin.
The MP said the work is going to start immediately, with tenders going out for local contractors, and he expects completion to take place over the next two years.
Devolin, who is not seeking re-election in the upcoming fall election, is very pleased with the funding and what it will mean for his riding.
“This is the biggest piece of federal infrastructure in our riding ... now what you have to do is keep investing. So I’ll let the next MP fight that fight.”