Ramara Township, just northeast of Barrie, Ontario, has voted in support of outsourcing the community’s water and wastewater services to the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) to save $1.5 million over the life of a new five-year contract, officials announced.
Ramara Township, which is just northeast of Barrie, Ontario, and situated along the northeastern shores of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching, will transition to the provincial Crown agency OCWA in the coming months, officials announced following a vote on July 6.
Ramara’s Environmental Services department consists of seven water systems and two wastewater treatment systems.
“This decision was not about the employees in the Environmental Services department, but a decision about the organization and what is best for the Township and the ratepayers,” announced Ramara’s Chief Administrative Officer, John Pinsent, in a statement to media. “This change in provider will save money, whilst also improving upon the current levels of service delivery through the development of efficiencies and technology advancements,” Pinsent added.
Ramara, with a population of about 10,200 residents, awarded the contract to the OCWA for $7.5 million over five years. It is expected that the OCWA will assume operations of the Township’s water and wastewater systems by September.
“It is our obligation to the ratepayers to ensure that we are providing the most reliable and financially sustainable water and wastewater systems to service Ramara,” announced Ramara Mayor Basil Clarke in a statement. “This Council continues to support all efforts to operate the municipality effectively and efficiently, while also providing great customer service that our ratepayers come to expect,” the mayor added.
Ramara officials stated that the outsourcing of water services will give the Township an opportunity to work with an organization that specializes in water and wastewater services and enhance delivery of services to ratepayers through the modernization of facilities and processes.
The Township of Ramara was approved for funding under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund in 2017, which provided the municipality with vital infrastructure funding to support the rehabilitation of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure on Beaver Trail.
The Lambton Area Water Supply System in Point Edward, Ontario, which serves some 100,000 residents, was the first primary water distributor in Ontario to sign a long-term operating contract with the Ontario Clean Water Agency. OCWA maintains a staff of approximately 13 people for Lambton.
OWCA manages 820 treatment facilities, some 75% of Ontario’s outsourced water treatment facilities. It has some 500 certified water and wastewater operators working across Ontario.
OCWA describes itself as providing an “environmentally-responsible and cost-effective water and wastewater services to municipalities, First Nations communities, businesses, governments and institutions across Ontario.”