Howson Dam in 2018, showing significant damage to the structure (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Debate continues over formation of North Huron’s Howson Dam committee

Concerns over the formation of a committee of North Huron Council regarding the future of the Howson Dam in Wingham were clarified Monday night.

Wingham residents Phil and Marg Beard recently sent a letter to council, and they attended last night’s council meeting to discuss those concerns.

Phil said it’s about ensuring all the information is taken into account.

“We were just recommending that council design a process so that council can look at all the options and all the facts related to the dam,” he said.

Phil said that will allow council to make a decision that’s in the best interest of the community in the long and short term.  He also noted it was important that people with different and impartial viewpoints be on the committee.

“That’s what council indicated tonight, that the committee would be made up of representation from all sides of the issue, and that it was made up of people that would be willing to look at the facts,” he said.

Marg said that they want to ensure all the facts are considered.

“Right now what is prominent are two options, but if they undergo a process that gathers all the information and looks at things clearly, they don’t know what’s possible or what is best, so it’s to see what is the best option,” she said.

North Huron Reeve Bernie Bailey said the committee will soon be formed but clarified that nothing is set in stone regarding the dam.

“We don’t have the terms of reference, but the terms of reference will read ‘what do we do with the dam, and how do we move forward with it?’  There seems to be some misconception that it was going to be just rebuild the dam at any cost by the taxpayers, and that is not true,” he said.

Bailey said the terms of reference could be laid out for the future committee as early as next council meeting, and ads will go out in the paper and on the municipal website for applications by anyone in the area to apply to be on the Howson Dam committee of council.