Mayor Steven Byveld
The municipality of South Dundas is moving into 2020 with optimism, determination, and most importantly, a plan.
The council is entering its second year, and as in many municipalities across Ontario, has its own short list of local issues it wants to deal with.
Landfill concerns, local infrastructure and finding solutions to longstanding problems are on the council’s radar.
In a discussion with The Chesterville Record, Mayor Steven Byvelds was candid about the council’s upcoming challenges.
He said, “As you know the council is fairly new and we got right to work, and started putting our stamp on the municipality in trying to deal with some of the old files left by the old council.”
Byvelds said he was encouraged by the council’s work to date, and feels they are on the right track.
The mayor said, “We are not through them all yet as far as I am concerned, but I am certainly hopeful that by the time we are halfway through next year they will have been, for the most part, dealt with.”
Seeking a solution for landfill
There are issues in South Dundas that will be economically challenging.
One of those is the solution to the municipality’s landfill situation – the site has about reached its expiry date – and another is the temporarily stalled retrofitting of the storm sewer in Morrisburg.
“The landfill issue will, I think, be the big one this year. We have to deal with the issue of waste and recycling. They are big files costing well over one million dollars in taxation.”
He added, “So we need to come up with some solutions and do some thinking outside of the box. We are certainly looking at the economics behind this too.”
Byvelds is confident about finding a solution regarding the landfill issue.
“There are various ways of dealing with it,” he said. He pointed out that other municipalities have faced similar challenges.
“There are lots of options out there,” he said. “We have to come out with a plan that makes sense for us.”
Byvelds said the council will continue to work on economic development and tourism.
Infrastructure is an ongoing concern. “As good as they are in Stormont Dundas and Glengarry, there will always be issues with the roads and South Dundas is no different.”
The municipality is starting to put aside funds for dealing with some of the bridge repairs it will face over the next five years. “We have a five-year road plan we will do our best to follow, and we have Ontario Street in Morrisburg we still have not gotten settled,” said Byvelds.
“We will see where it goes. We have tenders out and when they come back we hope we will get better pricing, but if not, we will figure something out, to do what we need to do,” he said.
The Morrisburg issue is the result of the original storm sewer lines in old Morrisburg never being moved when the St. Lawrence Seaway construction took place.
Before the seaway was flooded, the lines went underneath the train tracks where there was an underpass at the intersection of Highway 31 and County Road 2. After the town was restructured to accommodate the construction, the line was left behind and is still there today.
It is not causing an issue, however the municipality would prefer to move it.
“We did not even know about this line until they finally found it,” said Byvelds. “This is probably the biggest infrastructure project because of its uniqueness,” he said.
The original cost for the project was pegged at $1.2 million. It swelled to $1.5 million and then $2 million. The closest tender came in at $2.7 million.
“At $2.7 million council said no,” said the mayor. The council decided to start the process over.
“We are hoping there will be contractors looking for work, and the bids that come in will be more competitive,” said Byvelds.
Looking at what the council accomplished in 2019, Byvelds admitted he would have liked to get more done, but he is looking forward to 2020.
“I am sure we will get to where we want to go. We are not afraid of hard work,” he said.