John Mason’s Last Stand

The Dashwood resident isn’t eager to tie into Grand Bend’s sewage line. Are you?

Story and photo by Casey Lessard

Sewage collection system information session
Tuesday, September 30
7 to 9 p.m. – Grand Bend Public School

Standing in front of a lagoon that currently services the sewage waste of 1100 residents, John Mason wonders how these same lagoons east of Grand Bend will hold the waste of 11,000 in 2031. Yes, there will be a new sewage treatment facility at the site (once the tri-municipality consortium of Lambton Shores, Bluewater and South Huron approves it), but the Dashwood resident questions the decisions that are leading to the future he fears.
“People are upset,” Mason says. “I had a neighbour come over the other night crying; she can’t afford to keep going right now, let alone have a $26,000 sewage bill to tie in. Then there’s the $150 monthly cost. Mother Nature is doing it for free right now (Dashwood is on septic). They’re just putting undue hardships on everybody.”
Since the Walkerton E. coli tragedy, wastewater at all Ontario lagoons (Grand Bend’s was installed in 1979) must be treated through a treatment plant. Following Crediton’s and Hensall’s lead, Dashwood, St. Joseph and Grand Bend must now convert from septic to sewage with a plant at the present lagoon site on Mollard Line.
“Last year in Hensall, the costs that were presented to us then were $26,000 for each lot in Dashwood to tie into the system,” Mason says, “but that’s at today’s rates and we might not tie in for 10 or 12 years. Who knows what the price will be then.”
Mason is concerned that not everyone in the project’s zone is aware of the fact that they’ll be paying big money to tie in.
“Along the lake it’s $24,000 each to start,” he predicts. “A 3,000 gallon tank is $5,000. The other tank is $5,000. Plus they have to tie in from the road, so all told it’s about $40,000 per lot from St. Joseph to the Pinery.”
Lambton Shores community services director Peggy Van Mierlo-West says she can’t confirm a projected per household cost because the firm handling the project, Dillon Consulting, is not finished its proposal and has not set a cost estimate.
“They are working on that right now,” she says, “so I don’t know where people are coming up with those numbers.”
Mason figures that with Dashwood home values in the $150,000 range, it’s not a stretch to suggest that most famili