Permit to Take Water approved by Ministry of the Environment for proposed Port Elgin Beach development

On January 28, 2022, a request for a permit to take water (PTTW) was sent to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) by Cobide Engineering on behalf of the Cedar Crescent Village (CCV) proposed development at Port Elgin Main Beach and registered with the Ministry on February 4th.

According to the request for permit, the process calls for dewatering at the Port Elgin main beach that will allow removal of groundwater of up to 3.8 million litres a day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for up to three years, during construction.  The dewatering process will be entitled to operation from January 1 to December 31 for three years.

Despite extensive comments (citing discrepancies and inaccuracies in the request, including in particular, that the site location quoted in the documents was incorrect and, therefore, a previous hydrogeological assessment was no longer applicable), that were sent to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) by the local Port Elgin Beach Preservers on March 5th, it appears that the PTTW has been approved.

In a published quote from MECP (on Beach Preservers Facebook), the Permit to Take Water (PTTW) has been approved but contains ‘conditions and safeguards’ to protect existing water users and the natural environment, including:
  • conditions that require the permit holder to collect and record the daily amount of water taken
  • comply with the terms and conditions in the permit, immediately report complaints or interference to the ministry
  • report water takings each year to the ministry
  • a condition requiring the permit holder to undertake continuous groundwater level monitoring in observations wells during construction dewatering activities
  • conditions requiring the permit holder to monitor the quality of discharge to local sewers to ensure the protection of water entering in Lake Huron

Questions raised by concerned citizens include:

  • who is the actual permit holder?
  • who will be the monitor for the quality of water being discharged into the lake?
  • who will monitor the groundwater level in wells during construction?
  • what happens once the process is started and something goes wrong?
  • who will maintain checks and balances on the monitor?

The area proposed for development was recently declared ‘surplus’ by Saugeen Shores Town Council in order to facilitate the registering of the 50 year lease that was granted to the developer, Cedar Crescent Village (CCV).