By Emilie Quesnel 
BELLEVILLE – The water main on Sidney Street between College Street West and Maple Drive will be getting a complete makeover this summer at a cost of almost $2.6-million.
The water main expansion and replacement for Sidney Street  is going forward after being approved during Tuesday’s Belleville city council meeting. The project includes the piping that will deliver water from the Water Treatment Plant  on Sidney Street to other areas in Belleville.
Tuesday night’s council meeting saw roughly 30 minutes of heated discussion regarding the plans and budget for the city’s revitalization project. The motion to move forward with Phase 2 of the Build Belleville  project was passed, but not without a fight from councillors Mitch Panciuk , Paul Carr  and Kelly McCaw . These councillors said they felt the city was way over-spending and priorities need to be adjusted.
However, the motion to spend over $2 million on Sidney Street was unanimously agreed upon. Everyone shares the opinion that the city needs new water mains.
“We now are dealing with a potential health issue … Everyone agrees that this work has to be done,” Councillor Jack Miller said of the water main work.
The project has been contracted out to H & H Construction Incorporated . The plan is to replace the existing water main under Sidney Street and extend it from College Street West to Maple Drive.
Not only will be the piping be replaced and cover more area, the storm drains, sewers, curbs, sidewalks and gutters will undergo reconstruction. You can expect the Sidney Street area to be pretty busy later this spring.
Cameras have been sent into the pipes on Sidney Street and the footage shows rust and corrosion, Miller explained. Trace amounts of rust have even been found in Belleville water samples because of the state the water main is in, he added.
“We have responsibilities under Ontario law to fix the water. So let’s get on with it.”
Coun. Carr sympathized that if anything needs to be fixed it’s the underground water system: “I understand the importance of the water pipes being fixed. It’s a liability issue.”
Carr explained to council that the Build Belleville project is already way over-budget and it isn’t fair to Belleville taxpayers. However, he did agree that fixing the water system should be a priority and said it will certainly be worth everyone’s money.
“I have a responsibility of good stewardship of taxpayer’s money,” he said.
Mayor Taso Christopher  called the water main reconstruction “a beast of its own”. He described the situation as “unique” because of how old the current underground system is. “They’re 70, 80, 90, 100 years old. It’s a situation of aging infrastructure.”
The surface of Sidney Street hasn’t seen new pavement since 1992, creating a less-than-smooth drive. Some of the $2.6-million will go towards re-paving the section of road between 485 College Street West and Maple Drive.