The Facts Backing the Concerns
Water and Sewage - Protect and Preserve
Water and wastewater capacity and preserving the quantity and quality from the Amik-Kimberley plant are very important for existing residents.
The Top: There are no water or sewage services and it is unclear how services would be delivered as the infrastructure would need to cross private land. Wells and septic are problematic due to the karst topography and the risks of water contamination.
The Bottom: Initial investigation indicates that there is sufficient water capacity for the existing residents and the former resort however likely not for a large-scale development. Wastewater (sewage) is close to capacity.
Sprawl = Higher Taxes
“Suburbia is Subsidized” is an objective 3rd party economic analysis of the way municipalities make and lose money through planning decisions and infrastructure costs, demonstrating that suburban sprawl leads municipalities to struggle financially.
After a painstaking analysis of the revenue and expenses for each individual acre of land in the city and surrounding areas, it determined that downtowns and centrally located mixed-use communities are the economic engines of municipalities and car-centric residential suburbs are a drain on municipal finances.
Why isn’t this commonly understood? Mainly because this financial burden doesn’t happen right away; initially the tax revenue from a housing development does provide a boost to municipal coffers. But a development is only financially solvent if it can pay for the replacement cost of its own infrastructure, so over time, car-dependent suburbs have been shown again and again to fall far short of this requirement.
How would this apply to the Talisman lands? In the best-case scenario, the developer would pay the full cost of bringing the roads, bridges, water, and sewer systems up to the required standards. The units built would be sold, and those owners would start paying municipal property taxes. So far so good. But the cost of providing ongoing services is higher for isolated suburbs and eventually, all infrastructure needs repairs and replacement. These are the costs that will burden future councils and taxpayers. One of the worst places you could possibly put a housing subdivision, from a purely financial perspective, is on the former Talisman lands given the significant new infrastructure required to facilitate large-scale development. The bridges on Sideroad 7A alone would require millions of dollars to upgrade and maintain.
Floodplains and Building - a Risky Gamble
Large portions of the lower lands are in a floodplain where development should be avoided.
The last major study of the floodplain, Beaver River Floodline Mapping Study Final Report, was done in 1995. It is now outdated and flawed given:
• Data inputs are at least 27 years old
• Outdated modeling methodology
• Impact of climate change not considered
• Doesn’t account for releases from the Eugenia Dam which flow into the Beaver River
We are concerned that the floodplain is larger than identified and could spread much further than modeled. We have requested a comprehensive new floodplain study incorporating modern data and modeling before any development is proposed or approved in the broader Beaver River watershed.
Read our letter to Grey Sauble Conservation
Review the presentation to Grey Sauble Conservation
Karst - Integral to Clean Drinking Water
Karst is a type of landscape (topography) formed when water passes over calcium-rich, soluble rock types, such as dolostone and limestone, and creates a series of fissures, crevasses, sinkholes, and underground cave systems. Not only is it dangerous to build on top of cavities that can collapse, but these systems transport surface and groundwater in ways that make karst areas highly susceptible to groundwater contamination.
The streams that feed the Amik water treatment plant run through the top lands and then down through the karst to the treatment plant. According to the Source Protection Plan’s Grey Sauble Protection Program Assessment report, the nature of this flow system makes karst areas highly susceptible to groundwater contamination. Therefore, the most prudent approach, from a health perspective, would be to leave the lands undeveloped.
Karst is prevalent throughout the Beaver Valley area and examples can be seen along the top of Old Baldy, and the Wodehouse Karst Management Area on the 7th line, very close to the top of Talisman.