Learn about the advantages of communal water and wastewater services

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Communal services are systems that provide water and wastewater treatment to clusters of residences or businesses. At the June 2019 Council meeting, the Council for the Corporation of the County of Frontenac approved the Communal Services Study. The main purpose of the study was to demonstrate that the perceived obstacles — engineering, financial, risk management, planning — are just that, and to equip Frontenac with the tools necessary to enable redevelopment and new development on the basis of communal servicing. Communal servicing has the potential to support more compact, land-efficient development than is possible with private servicing, at a lower cost than is possible with centralized municipal services, and to enable revitalization of the Frontenacs' communities. WSP Consulting was retained to complete the study and employed a team comprised of planners, engineers and financial risk analysts.

The Communal Service Governance/Operation Model Review Committee was established, comprised of the Mayors from all four Townships as well as citizens with expertise in financial management, communal servicing engineering, and land development, to assist and advise on the best approach the County and its member municipalities should take in terms of a governance model for communal services in Frontenac. Watch video of committee proceedings in the widgets column or by clicking HERE.

The Frontenac Municipal Services Corporation (FMSC) was incorporated on November 7, 2023. The inaugural FMSC board meeting was held in Sydenham on January 15, 2024.

WHAT ARE COMMUNAL SERVICES?

Communal services are shared drinking water and sewage systems that provide water and wastewater treatment to clusters of residences and businesses. Communal systems are also sometimes called “decentralized systems” or “cluster systems.” While operating on the same basic principles as conventional municipal services, communal services are not connected to a single central facility. Instead, ‘right-sized’ facilities treat water and wastewater close to where it is needed or created. Communal services can be less expensive than centralized municipal services and reduce the need to pipe water or wastewater over long distances. They are also more environmentally-friendly than private on-site services (i.e. well and septic).

The three types of systems are shown schematically below:

Many different options exist within the broad category of communal servicing. Systems may be municipally- or privately-owned, using several different ownership and operation models. There is a growing range of treatment technologies that can be used for communal servicing. The distinguishing feature is that communal services treat water and wastewater close to where it is needed.

COMMUNITY BENEFITS

A key benefit of communal services is that they represent alternative water and wastewater servicing approaches that can provide the County and Townships with the innovative technology and flexibility to accommodate growth and achieve planning, environmental, and economic development objectives.

Communal services can provide numerous community benefits and opportunities:

  • New development on smaller lot sizes that are a better ‘fit’ into the existing fabric of a village or hamlet;

  • Developments within villages or hamlets that are dense enough to promote walkability, lower-carbon lifestyles, and efficient use of other municipal services and infrastructure;

  • More housing within walking distance of mainstreets and commercial cores, to assist in strengthening the local economy;

  • Infilling and redevelopment along mainstreets, to promote vibrant community hubs, and on brownfield sites;

  • Commercial or industrial development and possible creation of a business park;

  • Development of a broader range of housing types, such as seniors’ Communal System homes and outdoor lifestyle communities to support aging in place;

  • Increased opportunities for mixed-use development, and for home-based businesses; and

  • Rural and waterfront development that protects the County's water quality and natural heritage.


Communal services are systems that provide water and wastewater treatment to clusters of residences or businesses. At the June 2019 Council meeting, the Council for the Corporation of the County of Frontenac approved the Communal Services Study. The main purpose of the study was to demonstrate that the perceived obstacles — engineering, financial, risk management, planning — are just that, and to equip Frontenac with the tools necessary to enable redevelopment and new development on the basis of communal servicing. Communal servicing has the potential to support more compact, land-efficient development than is possible with private servicing, at a lower cost than is possible with centralized municipal services, and to enable revitalization of the Frontenacs' communities. WSP Consulting was retained to complete the study and employed a team comprised of planners, engineers and financial risk analysts.

The Communal Service Governance/Operation Model Review Committee was established, comprised of the Mayors from all four Townships as well as citizens with expertise in financial management, communal servicing engineering, and land development, to assist and advise on the best approach the County and its member municipalities should take in terms of a governance model for communal services in Frontenac. Watch video of committee proceedings in the widgets column or by clicking HERE.

The Frontenac Municipal Services Corporation (FMSC) was incorporated on November 7, 2023. The inaugural FMSC board meeting was held in Sydenham on January 15, 2024.

WHAT ARE COMMUNAL SERVICES?

Communal services are shared drinking water and sewage systems that provide water and wastewater treatment to clusters of residences and businesses. Communal systems are also sometimes called “decentralized systems” or “cluster systems.” While operating on the same basic principles as conventional municipal services, communal services are not connected to a single central facility. Instead, ‘right-sized’ facilities treat water and wastewater close to where it is needed or created. Communal services can be less expensive than centralized municipal services and reduce the need to pipe water or wastewater over long distances. They are also more environmentally-friendly than private on-site services (i.e. well and septic).

The three types of systems are shown schematically below:

Many different options exist within the broad category of communal servicing. Systems may be municipally- or privately-owned, using several different ownership and operation models. There is a growing range of treatment technologies that can be used for communal servicing. The distinguishing feature is that communal services treat water and wastewater close to where it is needed.

COMMUNITY BENEFITS

A key benefit of communal services is that they represent alternative water and wastewater servicing approaches that can provide the County and Townships with the innovative technology and flexibility to accommodate growth and achieve planning, environmental, and economic development objectives.

Communal services can provide numerous community benefits and opportunities:

  • New development on smaller lot sizes that are a better ‘fit’ into the existing fabric of a village or hamlet;

  • Developments within villages or hamlets that are dense enough to promote walkability, lower-carbon lifestyles, and efficient use of other municipal services and infrastructure;

  • More housing within walking distance of mainstreets and commercial cores, to assist in strengthening the local economy;

  • Infilling and redevelopment along mainstreets, to promote vibrant community hubs, and on brownfield sites;

  • Commercial or industrial development and possible creation of a business park;

  • Development of a broader range of housing types, such as seniors’ Communal System homes and outdoor lifestyle communities to support aging in place;

  • Increased opportunities for mixed-use development, and for home-based businesses; and

  • Rural and waterfront development that protects the County's water quality and natural heritage.


  • EOWC delegation advocates for communal services at ROMA conference, Jan 21

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    UPDATE: 31 January 2024 – The Eastern Ontario Warden's Caucus (EOWC) made a 2024 Ontario Pre-budget Consultation submission that included a recommendation that the Province provide programs, funding, and policies to support rural municipalities with innovative housing and infrastructure development to build more housing faster. Communal services in small towns and rural areas is a key land-use development innovation to that end. The recommendation is presented in the context of the EOWC's 7 in 7+ Regional Housing Plan.

    Click here to see the EOWC Pre-budget Consultation submission.

    UPDATE: 25 January 2024 – The Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus (EOWC) continues to advocate strongly for regional priorities at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) 2024 Conference held in the City of Toronto from January 21 to 23, 2024.

    From across Ontario, the EOWC joined over 2,000 rural municipal colleagues at the conference to participate in meetings with provincial Ministers, Members of Provincial Parliament, and the Ontario New Democratic and Liberal opposition parties to discuss critical priorities including:

    • Affordable and attainable housing
    • Next generation infrastructure funding
    • Long-term care
    • Modernizing the construction approval process

    For the priorities package, visit the EOWC website at www.eowc.org.

    “The EOWC believes that strong partnerships between government are needed to tackle housing, health and economic challenges across the region. The ROMA Conference was a success in building upon our relationships to better serve our 103 communities across rural eastern Ontario.” - EOWC Chair, Peter Emon

    Warden Nancy Peckford, United Counties of Leeds and Grenville; Warden; Liz Danielsen, Haliburton County; EOWC Vice-Chair, Bonnie Clark, Peterborough County; Minister Paul Calandra, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; EOWC Chair, Peter Emon, Renfrew County; Mayor Steve Ferguson, Prince Edward County.

    MPP Stephane Sarrazin, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell; MPP Laurie Scott, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock; Warden Jamie MacDonald, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry; EOWC Vice-Chair, Bonnie Clark, Peterborough County; Minister Kinga Surma, Ministry of Infrastructure; MPP John Yakabuski, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke; Chair Peter Emon, Renfrew County; Warden Pierre Leroux, United Counties of Prescott & Russell; MPP John Jordan, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston; MPP Dave Smith, Peterborough-Kawartha; Warden Brian Ostrander, Northumberland County.



    The Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus is excited to launch our Advocacy Briefing Package ahead of the 2024 Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference.

    Click here to download the Advocacy Briefing Package👉 https://lnkd.in/g2jH8AYD

    We are heading to the City of Toronto to advocate of behalf of 103 of the 300+ rural municipalities at #ROMA2024.

    We look forward to being around the table with our provincial partners and municipal colleagues to ensure the region of rural eastern Ontario, and our communities and residents, are represented.

    The EOWC will be meeting with:

    Infrastructure | Infrastructure
    Municipal Affairs and Housing / Affaires municipales et Logement
    Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care | Ministère des Soins de longue durée de l'Ontario
    Ontario Ministry of Energy
    Ontario Liberal Party
    Ontario New Democratic Party

    #onpoli #ruralmatters #cdnmuni #EOWC7in7

  • New Frontenac Municipal Services Corporation poised to effect positive change on land-use and social issues facing rural municipalities in Ontario

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    Frances Smith, Frontenac County Warden and Township of Central Frontenac Mayor, was elected President and Board Chair of the new Frontenac Municipal Services Corporation (FMSC) at the group’s inaugural meeting in Sydenham, January 15.

    "The FMSC and communal services is an example of people from all of Frontenac’s municipalities working together to effect practical solutions to some of the social and land-use issues faced by rural communities everywhere,” says Smith. “Our work now and over the next few years lays the foundation for a bright future in Frontenac.”


    Frances Smith, Frontenac County Warden and Mayor of the Township of Central Frontenac, was elected FMSC President and Board Chair, January 15.

    Township of North Frontenac Mayor Gerry Lichty was elected FMSC Vice Chair.

    The FMSC was incorporated November 7 to oversee the implementation and operation of communal water and wastewater services in Frontenac. Communal services are innovative technologies and approaches to water and wastewater treatment for clusters of residences and businesses especially suited to small communities and rural areas. They bridge a gap of unmet needs between the limitations of installing separate well-and-septic on each lot; and the financial impracticalities of building large, centralized treatment facilities found in more densely populated areas.

    Communal services make way for smaller lot sizes across Frontenac that will help stimulate local economies, provide for less expensive housing options, build upon livability, protect water quality and the natural environment, and more.

    The implementation of these new water and wastewater treatment possibilities by the FMSC initially clears the way for a much wider range of land use possibilities in three pilot projects across Frontenac: Development of the former Sharbot Lake Public School site in Central Frontenac, expected growth of the village of Marysville on Wolfe Island, and development of 10 largely unused hectares in the village of Verona in South Frontenac.

    The inaugural meeting of the FMSC was held at the municipal offices of the Township of South Frontenac, January 15.

    Funding for the FMSC – $700,000 for the first five years of operation – is divided equally among the five founding municipalities: The County of Frontenac, The Township of Central Frontenac, The Township of Frontenac Islands, The Township of North Frontenac, and the Township of South Frontenac.

    Members of the board of the Municipal Services Corporation are South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, North Frontenac Mayor Gerry Lichty, Central Frontenac Mayor Fran Smith, and Township of Frontenac Islands Councillor Mike Jablonicky.

    Members of the FMSC Technical Support Committee are Jim McIntosh (Chair), Roy Huetl (Vice Chair), Dan Hulton, Stephen Keeley, and Phil Tibble.

    Follow developments on the Verona Master Plan.

    See the Marysville planning information hub.

    Visit the Former Sharbot Lake Public School project.

    Return to the Communal Services in Frontenac page.

    Register for EngageFrontenac.ca to participate in and stay informed on this and other initiatives happening in Frontenac.

  • Inaugural Communal Services Technical Advisory Committee meeting held

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    Members of the new committee along with members of the board of the new municipal services corporation gathered in Sydenham, November 20, to begin discussing next steps in bringing communal water and wastewater services to Frontenac.

    If you haven't heard or read about communal services in Frontenac yet, it's a way for small clusters of residences or businesses to share water and wastewater services in areas where traditional municipal water and sewer systems aren't available. There are a whole host of possible advantages to communal services including new affordable housing options, new mixed-use development possibilities, new environmental protections, and much more.

    The Communal Services Technical Advisory Committee members are Roy Huetl, Dan Hulton, Stephen Keeley, Jim McIntosh, and Phil Tibble.

    Members of the Municipal Services Corporation are South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, North Frontenac Mayor Gerry Lichty, Central Frontenac Mayor Fran Smith, and Township of Frontenac Islands Councillor Mike Jablonicky.

    Phil Tibble, Jim McIntosh, Dan Hulton, Roy Huetl, Mike Jablonicky, and Jerry Lichty.

    The Committee met at the Township of South Frontenac council chambers in Sydenham.

  • Public meeting on proposed amendment to the Frontenac County Official Plan to allow for communal services held October 4

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    Watch video from the meeting below. Click here to read the official meeting announcement. Click here to learn more about communal services in Frontenac County.


  • County council dives into communal services

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    MINDEN - THE TIMES - It’s been a hot topic for a long time, and some of the wheels were set in motion for shared services at a special meeting of county council on Sept. 13.

    Councillors were joined by the County of Frontenac representatives Joe Gallivan, the director of planning and economic development, and Kelly Pender, CAO.


  • Communal services key to housing crisis

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    HALIBURTON - THE HIGHLANDER - Haliburton County CAO Mike Rutter believes communal water and sewer systems may be the missing piece to help leaders address the Highlands’ housing woes.

    Representatives from Frontenac County explained the potential solution to County council Sept. 13. Staffers Joe Gallivan and Kelly Pender said the plan, which took around seven years to develop, has helped the municipality progress three housing projects they say will bring more than 200 units over the next few years.


  • Members sought for Communal Service Technical Advisory Committee

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    The County of Frontenac is seeking qualified members to sit on its Communal Service Technical Advisory Committee.

    The committee is responsible for beginning the process of establishing standards and protocols for installations, plus the investigation of various operational models/opportunities of communal servicing in Frontenac County.

    Information about Communal Services in Frontenac, including relevant studies and reports, can be found at https://engagefrontenac.ca/communal-services

    Skills: Those wishing to be considered for membership on the Communal Services Technical Advisory Committee must have a sufficient level of expertise in financial management, communal servicing engineering, and land development.

    To apply: Applications must be submitted by 3pm on Friday, October 13.

    Click here to apply online.

    Applications may also be submitted to:

    Jannette Amini, Manager of Legislative Services/Clerk
    County of Frontenac
    2069 Battersea Road
    Glenburnie ON K0H 1S0
    Or email to: jamini@frontenaccounty.ca


    Personal information, as defined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), is collected under the authority of the Municipal Act, 2001, and in accordance with MFIPPA. Personal information collected on the application form will be used to assist in selecting appointees for Advisory Committees and may form part of the publicly available meeting agendas and minutes. If appointed to an Advisory Committee, your personal information may also be used by County staff to conduct committee and County business. Questions regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of this personal information may be directed to Jannette Amini, Manager of Legislative Services/Clerk, 613-548-9400 ext. 302

  • NOTICE: Public meeting, Official Plan amendment, October 4

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    Take Notice that the Council of The Corporation of the County of Frontenac is proposing to adopt an Official Plan Amendment in accordance with Section 17 of the Planning Act, RSO 1990, as amended, to make changes to the County Official Plan.

    The County of Frontenac’s Planning and Economic Development Advisory Committee will be hosting the statutory public meeting on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. County staff will provide a brief presentation and the committee will invite comments and questions from the public. Please note that there may be more than one public meeting scheduled, and they will be heard in the order that they appear on the committee’s agenda. The agenda will be available online on the County’s civic web portal in advance of the meeting (https://frontenac.civicweb.net/portal/).

    Public Meeting: Wednesday, October 4, 2023, at 10:00 a.m., in person at the Township of South Frontenac Council Chambers, 4432 George Street, Sydenham, ON and via electronic participation.

    Electronic Participation: The public meeting will also be available to the public virtually as a Zoom webinar. Members of the public can participate by registering for the Zoom meeting by computer, tablet, or smartphone or by calling in. To register, please visit the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kgeAQjnVTymEYfKcJVrJCQ or contact planning@frontenaccounty.ca. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

    Purpose and Effect: The purpose of the Official Plan Amendment is to make changes to the County’s Official Plan to include policies related to the delivery of communal water and wastewater services and to recognize the creation of a Municipal Service Corporation to oversee this infrastructure. The amendment will include policies in the County Official Plan regarding how communal services can be used and provide enabling policies so that local townships can implement their own policies for how communal services will be used to guide growth and development in their communities.

    Lands Affected: The draft Official Plan Amendment applies to all properties within the County; therefore, no key map is provided.

    Other Applications: Currently, there are no other County-wide Planning Act applications.

    Additional Information about this matter, including information about appeal rights, is available by contacting County planning staff at planning@frontenaccounty.ca or 613-548-9400, extension 350. The draft of the Official Plan Amendment is also available online at the following link: https://www.frontenaccounty.ca/en/business/current-planning-applications.aspx. For background information about the County’s work on communal services, please visit: https://engagefrontenac.ca/communal-services.

    Notice of Adoption: If you wish to be notified of the decision of the County of Frontenac on the proposed official plan amendment, you must make a written request to Jannette Amini, County Clerk, County of Frontenac, 2069 Battersea Road, Glenburnie, ON K0H 1S0 or jamini@frontenaccounty.ca.

    Notice of Collection: Personal information collected as a result of this public meeting is collected under the authority of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Planning Act and will be used to assist in making a decision on these matters. All names, addresses, opinions and comments may be collected and may form part of the minutes which will be available to the public. Questions regarding this collection should be forwarded to Jannette Amini, County Clerk.

    Dated at the Township of Frontenac Islands this 14th day of September, 2023.

    Jannette Amini, County Clerk

    County of Frontenac

  • Township of North Frontenac Council votes to support communal services

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    Township of North Frontenac Council voted to join a soon-to-be-formed Frontenac municipal service corporation at a special Council meeting, June 20. The move is a necessary and critical step toward bringing development projects involving communal services in Frontenac to fruition.

    Watch Frontenac County Director of Planning and Economic Development Joe Gallivan and Frontenac County CAO Kelly Pender present the plan to Township of North Frontenac Council, June 9.



  • Communal systems could create more development potential in Frontenac County

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    FRONTENAC NEWS - Joe Gallivan, Manager for Planning and Economic Development for Frontenac County, briefed Frontenac County Council last week on a communal services report that will be coming their way next month. This is a file that Gallivan has been working on for years, but he wanted some of the newer members of the council to be more familiar with the issues in the report in advance of its release.

Page last updated: 01 Feb 2024, 08:51 AM