“I’ve been working on this for quite some time,” said Kirby during a phone interview Thursday. “It’s very satisfying. I’d like to thank the provincial government for recognizing our need.”
Bill Walker, associate minister of energy, phoned Kirby Wednesday to tell him that the township was confirmed as part of Phase 2 of the Ontario Natural Gas Expansion Program. The Village of Chute-à-Blondeau is one of 43 communities that will see mainline extensions constructed to provide homes and businesses in the area with natural gas as an alternate heating fuel.
Enbridge Gas Inc. is responsible for the Chute-à-Blondeau extension and will receive $4.4 million in provincial aid for the project. Construction of the extension should begin in 2023.
Mayor Kirby noted that East Hawkesbury Township was the one municipality in the Prescott-Russell region that did not have natural gas available. He observed that the lack of natural gas service may have caused some potential developers to bypass the municipality as a possible site for projects.
“Now, I hope, that down the road, we’ll have (more) room to grow,” said Mayor Kirby. “It (natural gas) is a major start for us.”