Denise and Mary:
4. The community wants information about the sewage system. How it works. Is it working? What capacity does it have to accommodate village growth? The people of Wardsville were always told the sewage run-off facility was designed only for existing houses and in-filling in the village. The Official Plan has expanded the boundaries. What are the limits to growth? What are the costs and benefits of growth? Who will pay for environmental studies? How well is the new sewage treatment working? There is a need for factual information as soon as possible.
Southwest Middlesex, Janneke Newitt, Clerk:
The sewage system is running well below capacity. The study done in 2003 indicated that the system could service double the current population and a more recent study confirms that. When the system was first constructed there was a building freeze as the capacity was unknown as was the volume that the treatment plant would be expected to treat. However, that freeze was lifted after the 2003 study. I’m told that the issue was raised at the town hall meeting in Wardsville a year or two ago and residents that attended were advised of the lifting of the freeze. I agree though, that the municipality could do a better job of keeping the public updated on the system as not everyone attended the town hall meeting.
The sewage system would actually function better with more effluent being treated = growth would be beneficial. That is one more reason why Council thought it appropriate to expand the boundary of the Village in the official plan. We’ve just had a lengthy discussion with the Ministry of the Environment, who is concerned about the functionality of the treatment plant and so the municipality will be required to have an independent study done on it to determine a course of action. A report will be coming to Council fairly early in the new year and at that time the residents of Wardsville will be advised of the situation and steps that will be taken to resolve the problem.
Newport Forest: is a 110-acre (45 ha) area on the south side of the Thames River. The property consists mainly of lowland forest, with some upland forest (the Hogsback), meadow, ravine slopes and bluff forests, and floodplain. Title to the Newport Forest was transferred to Thames Talbot Land Trust in June 2007. It is a private conservation area (not open to the public).
Birding: Birders know about Skunk’s Misery forest, which is recognized globally. They come to see some of the rarest birds in Canada. Many of the rare warblers depend on large (200 acre) undisturbed forests. Cerulean, Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers can be seen mating in the forests surrounding Skunks Misery.
Excerpt from Nov 28th Inventory
The Thames River, a Canadian Heritage River flows through Wardsville. There is no dock or trail access to the river, making it difficult for canoeists, fishermen, or bird watchers to enjoy river activities.
The Big Bend Conservation Area is close by and connected to Wardsville via the river. It is one of the few access points to the river between Delaware and Chatham. It is also underutilized as a park. Those who know the equine tourism business say that it could easily be utilized as a destination for trail riders.
Wardsville Millpond and stream, Paint Creek. An important part of the area’s heritage, it could be restored by multiple property owners.
A small restaurant has opened but Dave’s Café needs local support to survive. The Café has plans to open in the evening and needs to find skilled staff. The café also needs to serve high quality fresh food in order to maintain a local customer base and to pull travelers off Longwoods Road.
If the natural heritage is to be developed, we need well-marked groomed trails in the rural area for bicycling, horseback riding, four-wheelers, and snowmobiles. This requires much more planning. All users are not compatible on the same trail. Many declining rural communities have used trail development and tourism as the basis for economic revival.
Existing employers need a bigger base of skilled labour. Incoming residents need employment.
Excerpt from Nov 28th Inventory by the community