Parry Sound Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano, Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith, and director of northern region operations for Enbridge Luke Skaarup held a press conference in front of Town Hall today to reiterate the natural gas expansion in Hidden Valley and Burk’s Falls, affecting more than 140 homes and businesses.
The province will allocate just over $3 million to support connections to the natural gas distribution system to help make life more affordable in Parry Sound and Muskoka, announced Miller.
“As part of our government’s plan to make life more affordable, we are lowering energy costs for homes, businesses and farms across rural, remote and underserved communities,” said Smith.
According to a media release issued by Miller’s office, the average household that connects to the new service could save between $250 and $1,500 per year in energy costs by switching to natural gas from costlier fuel sources, and businesses are expected to save up to 30 per cent per year on energy costs.
Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano thanked the provincial government for investing in Huntsville. She said the provision of the service to residents in Hidden Valley will help them reduce the cost of heating. She said the announcement also coincides with road reconstruction in that area and the addition of District water and sewer services. “So it’s going to be a great economy of scale for three levels of government to work together on this project. We’ve already begun meeting to coordinate this work with the Hidden Valley residents who are all very happy that this gas is coming, water and sewer potentially coming, and new road work coming,” she said.
“Residents here are really going to value the expansion that’s coming their way,” said Skaarup. “With these projects we’re going to be bringing jobs, we’re going to provide energy savings and we’re also going to help support local investment as Ontario moves towards… recovery.” He said without the support of the province the project would not be feasible, due to the geography of the area. “Our customers are a little more far apart, we’ve got more swamps, more rocks to deal with, and this program really helps us to provide access to those that need natural gas and more affordable energy.”
Miller added that natural gas burns cleaner than oil, it doesn’t have to be delivered by truck, like oil or propane, and it’s much less expensive than electricity. “These projects will create construction jobs in the short-term and promote economic development in the long-term.” He said about three years ago his party campaigned on expanding natural gas distribution to more rural communities in order to decrease the cost of heating homes and, “I’m pleased to be here today to deliver on that promise.”
Miller spoke to those who are not part of the expansion or connected to natural gas. “I want to assure you that no tax dollars are going into this. This expansion project will be paid by the natural gas customers only, not by all taxpayers.”
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