County proceeding with expropriation application for Wellington Road 124 reconstruction

GUELPH – The County of Wellington has initiated an application to proceed with expropriation of 14 acres of land in Guelph/Eramosa for a road reconstruction project.

Warden Andy Lennox announced the county would proceed with the annexation applications following a closed session of council on Feb. 23.

County engineer Don Kudo explained in an email to the Advertiser the property acquisitions are required for the planned reconstruction and widening of Wellington Road 124 from the Guelph city limits to Guelph/Eramosa Township Road 1. 

“A Municipal Class Environmental Assessment was completed and approved in 2019 for this project and it was determined that property acquisition would be required to implement the preferred road alternative,” Kudo stated.

“In addition to the properties subject to the expropriation process, sections of properties have been acquired to date through direct contact with other property owners.”

Subject to the expropriation application are 27 parcels of land, ranging in size from .03 to 2.8 acres, along a 5.5 kilometre stretch of road between Fife Road in Guelph and Township Road 1.

Kudo said about seven acres of the land is zoned agricultural, with the remaining 7 acres being a mix of residential, industrial and commercial.

“Landowners will be compensated in accordance with the requirements of the Expropriations Act, which includes fair market value for property interests and, where applicable, injurious affection, disturbance damages and business losses,” Kudo explained.

“The act also makes provision for reimbursement of reasonable costs.”

Landowners can request a hearing into whether the expropriation “is fair, sound and reasonably necessary,” but Kudo said it is “far too early” to speculate if any hearings will be necessary.

“Most compensation claims are resolved through negotiation, and very few are litigated,” he noted.

Kudo said the county will work with the property owners through the expropriation process, including negotiations. 

The process is considered an “application” because under the Expropriations Act, a municipal corporation has to apply to the approving authority for approval to expropriate.

“In the case of municipalities, the approving authority is the municipal council, so in this case it is Wellington County council that will decide whether to approve the proposed expropriations,” Kudo pointed out.

If necessary, any hearings under the Expropriations Act are conducted by the Ontario Land Tribunal.