Bright’s Grove may have another reason this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
July 1 is the date that a long-standing development freeze in the community could be lifted, thanks to an upgrade of the Bright’s Grove sewage lagoons.
The increased sewage capacity will unleash pent-up demand and get the Grove growing again, said Cory Ganyou and Lana Morgan, realtors with Royal Lepage Key Realty.
“There are lots sitting right now that aren’t serviced,” said Gonyou. “Once this lagoon gets upgraded, some of the people that own those will be able to build.”
The Grove is already a hot real estate market said Gonyou, a 30-year resident.
“It’s a lifestyle there. (But) we’re the only community right now where you’re kind of locked, that you can’t build, that there’s nowhere to build.”
The Bright’s Grove sewage lagoons are a series of interconnected ponds used to treat human waste in the city’s northeast.
Last year, Sarnia received $30 million in federal-provincial funding to complete a $45-million upgrade of the lagoons and related pumping stations.
That work was completed in December and is coming on line as staff is trained to operate the new equipment and controls.
Everything should be ready by July 1, says city engineer Andre Morin, who has asked city council to maintain the freeze until then.
Early tests were favourable and the new system is expected to handle about 50% more sewage than the old one, Morin noted in a recent staff report.
One project long stalled by inadequate sewage treatment is a housing development proposed for the Bright’s Grove Golf Course, north of Cow Creek.
Jay McGuffin, a vice president with Monteith Brown Planning Consultants, has been working closely with a group developing the subdivision.
“The Bright’s Grove area is very sought after for residential development. The proximity to the waterfront is of great desire. We’re very excited by the project and we think that it will be very positive for the city as a whole,” he said.
The number of building lots has not been determined, he added.
Gonyou said people are eager for new housing.
“This won’t take very long to sell this subdivision. Everybody’s interested in it.”
Another area of interest is land between Huron Oaks and the Huron House Boys Home, he added.
“They always say, ‘If you build it they will come,’” he said.
“Look at the St. Christopher area; if you notice it just keeps growing. Petrolia is growing. Corunna is growing. Anywhere you build right now seems to keep attracting people.”