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RVCA responds

Cast as the possible villain in the Highway 174 sinkhole saga Friday, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is fighting back with this tersely-worded e-mail from the agency's Director of Planning, Don Maciver. In brief:

  • The City wanted to begin work on the deteriorating storm sewer in April, and wrap up by the end of July.
  • The City never followed up when the RVCA informed it those dates conflicted with the Spring fish spawning period, an annual construction blackout well known within the industry. 
  • The City never expressed any urgency. If it had for example informed the RVCA that the pipe was in imminent danger of collapse, the RVCA would have allowed the work to proceed without hesitation.
  • The contractor hired by the City didn't get started until the end of August, a full two months after the end of the spawning season.

Here's the e-mail to the mayor and Cumberland councillor Stephen Blais. (Another councillor, Steve Desroches, is cc'd because he sits on the RVCA's board of directors.)

From: Don Maciver <>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 23:28:44 -0400
To: <>
Cc: Steve Desroches <>, <>, Dell Hallett <>
Subject: FW: RV8-03/12   Highway 174 closure

With respect to the Hwy 174 closure, it is most regrettable how the role of the RVCA has been portrayed in many local media outlets this evening.  Appended below are the facts as I see them in my role as a Program Director at RVCA.  Attached also is the application form completed by the City, the RVCA letter of permission issued under Ontario Regulation 174/06 and a CA map.  The Spring in water works restriction period has been in effect for as long as I can remember; most major development proponents are well familiar with it but, as noted below, accommodations can be made in justifiable emergency situations.  Let me emphasize that we are always available for consultation and discussion.  Please do not hesitate to give me or my General Manager, Dell Hallett a call in the event that you wish to discuss this matter further.
·         An application was received by RVCA Feb 22, 2012
·         Permission was requested to reline a 3600 mm storm sewer for a distance of approximately 105m.;  Novatech was the consulting engineer.  The tributary affected is named West Bilberry Creek in our GIS (so the sub-watershed is not inconsequential in size).                                                              
·         The work dates provided on the application form were April 16, 2012 to July 31st, 2012
·         There was no indication of any emergency associated with the works and no suggestion in the file (or to our Inspector) that any special dispensation was required. 
·         RVCA handled the file as a routine submission for maintenance;  a  letter of permission with relatively standard conditions was issued April 18, 2012.
·         The City confirmed the details of the project and accepted the conditions April 26, 2012 under signature of Steven Courtland. 
·         There was no further contact with the City after this date that I have been told of.                                                                                                                       
·         According to a City e mail (Sept 7 by Ghadban) drawings were complete June 1, 2012; tender package completed June 30  & awarded July 18 (to Louis Bray Construction according to media).
·         As for any assertions that fish spawning held up works,  the collapse occurred  Tuesday the 4th  of Sept. some 65 days after the opening of the in water works construction period. In such matters the CA utilizes "construction windows" based on advice from MNR ; flexibility is available if special or emergency circumstances arise. 

Don Maciver MCIP RPP
Director of Planning
Planning Advisory & Regulatory Services Group
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
Box 599, 3889 Rideau Valley Dr.
Voice: (613) 692-3571 x1105
Mobile: (613) 355-0389
Web: <>

Here's the City's original application: 12 Youville and 174 relining application.pdf

And here's the RVCA's letter of permission:12 Youville and 174 relining Apr permission.pdf


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