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Groundwater study support granted by Tiny

Anticipated results on ‘cleaner than ancient arctic ice’ groundwater study of French’s Hill and Elmvale receives council’s letter of intent for scientists’ grant funding application
Ice floes float in Baffin Bay above the Arctic circle as seen from the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent on July 10, 2008. (Jonathan Hayward, The Canadian Press)

The flow of water might not recognize municipal boundaries, but the flow of currency does.

At a recent regular meeting of Tiny Township council, a public works report was given consideration regarding a grant application for the Elmvale Ground Water Study from two scientists: Dr. Michael Powell, professor with the university's Agricultural, Life and Environmental Science, Renewable Resources Department, and Dr. William Shotyk, professor and Bocock agriculture and the environment chair.

Preliminary results of the groundwater were presented to Tiny council in 2021, with the professors noting the incredibly clean water below French’s Hill.

"This groundwater contains one part per trillion of lead," said Shotyk at that time. "It's cleaner than ancient arctic ice."

As the Teedon Pit aggregate operation is located atop French’s Hill, much interest was raised in the community surrounding the proposed five-year multi-million dollar project.

To further study the groundwater, Powell and Shotyk said they would apply for an NSERC (National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Alliance grant.

Many meetings since that initial presentation have made reference to the study and its importance in decision making throughout North Simcoe.

The public works report for Tiny Township’s involvement, objectives and expectations in supporting the study through a letter of intent was discussed at the recent meeting.

“At this point, the vast majority of the support will be time for staff,” explained Tim Leitch, director of public works. In-kind contributions also included travel, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses for a predicted amount of nearly $36,000 by 2027.

Coun. Cindy Hastings asked for a timeline for the start of the study, with staff responding that the application could be resolved by this year and the study initiated in 2023.

While the NSERC application would be submitted nonetheless, both Leitch and planning and development director Shawn Persaud informed council that greater support through letters of intent would amount to greater chances for the grant application to be accepted.

“There’s a number of other partners,” shared Persaud. Along with neighbouring municipality Springwater, “they’ve also approached the SSEA (Severn Sound Environmental Association), and some other groups private and public.”

Leitch later added, “Water doesn’t recognize municipal boundaries. The study will be all-inclusive for all the areas that are impacted by this particular groundwater study.”

Coun. John Bryant noted that the public would want to become involved in the study and asked how they could participate and at what time. Staff replied that they would ask the professors to provide another presentation at a later date, to update council on the study and application progress.

Mayor George Cornell said he was “pleased and excited to see this come to the table”, while Bryant added his excitement in seeing the study results. 

The letter of intent, including township objectives and expected benefits, can be viewed within the agenda page located on the Tiny Township website.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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