For now, Wellington County officials can only wait to see if they will be reimbursed for boundary line road repairs they made at Winston Churchill Boulevard – and from whom that money might come.
The county spent $3.1-million in 2007 to repair that road and a bridge on it, and billed half the cost to the Region of Peel, as per their municipal agreement.
But Warden Joanne Ross-Zuj said in an interview on Monday that Peel officials, who have already paid the county some of that cost, are now wondering if they should have paid anything at all. Wellington is still waiting for about $1.2-million.
The complications go all the way back to an Ontario Municipal Board zoning decision in 1978 for two gravel pit operators.
They agreed to help maintain the road as part of the conditions for their pit licences from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Complicating the matter even further, the road at that time belonged to Erin township and Peel Region. That township disappeared ten years ago when it merged with Erin village.
And, “Peel is rightly not paying until they get this straightened out,” Ross-Zuj said.
County Chief Administrative Officer Scott Wilson and county engineer Gord Ough met Monday with Peel officials. Wilson said the issue is even more complex because of other issues.
The two gravel companies that made the agreement in return for the pit licences were Premier Gravel and one called Telephone City Gravel, of Brantford.
They subsequently sold the pits, leaving the two new pit owners, Dufferin Aggregates and James Dick, wondering if the conditions are still attached to the licence.
Wilson also noted that over the years, the pits had supplied gravel as per the agreement.
“There’s many complications to it,” said Wilson, in something of an understatement.
“Are the conditions in the licence enforceable? We’re looking to the MNR to enforce them,” he said. “There are many different factors being weighed. In addition to being a legal issue, it’s a political issue.”
He added that Peel officials have asked to be included in the discussions the next time the Wellington county officials meet with the MNR.
Ross-Zuj said, “The waters really got muddy when the OMB ruling was the gravel pit was to pay. We have gone to all the parties and had conversations, but nobody is quite sure.”
She added that “Everybody is nice about this and coming to the table … It’s a difficult issue.”
She said since the MNR granted the licence, it will likely have to decide if those conditions are still enforceable.