More discussion … still no decision on contentious drain

Con­sidering there are only two landowners involved, there has been considerable discussion – on site and in Wellington North’s council chamber – and no resolution is in sight.

Last month, council held a court of revision to consider the assessments for West Luth­er Drain 63, branch A, near Monck.

While four properties are involved in that project, the two landowners are Alfred Wil­son, of Conn, and adjacent landowner Gord Trask.

Garth Noecker, of K. Smart Associates Limited, presented a report outlining costs for the expansion of the drain.  At that time, he said because the majority of benefit goes to Wilson, most of the costs were allocated to him – roughly 80 to 85 per cent.

Noecker justified allocating some of the costs to Trask because there would be benefit to that property. Drainage rules state those who benefit must help with costs. “We feel it is of benefit to the property regardless of who owns it in the future.”

Trask, however, did not share that opinion as he asked why he should have to pay for a new drain when the current one is already doing the job.

At that meeting, Trask said “The new drain is not worth a penny to me when my drainage already goes to Drain 63.”

Noecker said whether or not Trask chooses to use the drain does not negate the upgrade being a substantial im­provement to the property. The court of revision deferred a decision pending further investigation and an on-site visit.

Since that meeting, an on-site visit was held, but apparently, no further calculations had been made as of Monday night’s court of revision.

As Mayor Mike Broomhead was chairman of the court, Noecker stated the matter was discussed two weeks earlier and the total cost of the drain­age works is about $49,500. Of that, roughly 85% of the cost was assessed to Wilson, and the remain 15% to Trask.

Noecker said originally there was a proposal to take over a secondary drain, but the consensus at the previous meeting was not to proceed with that portion.

He estimated that work would reduce the overall costs only by about $1,000.

And after various grants and allowances are applied, Noecker estimated the costs to  Trask and Wilson to be $3,000 (11%) and $27,000 to $28,000 (89%) respectively.

The first question came from councillor Ross Chaulk, who said after the on-site meeting, he anticipated seeing a revised report regarding costs.

Noecker stated he could not change the report until officially told to do so by the court.

Chaulk stated he was not happy since his belief was Noeck­er would be providing a revised schedule of costs.

There is nothing new here, he said. He added that there is no doubt Trask will get some benefit from the new drain.

“The dispute is in the amount.”

Noecker had nothing to offer except the existing report.

Broomhead said he was led to believe a final agreement was reached. If it had not, he recommended adjournment un­til the court would feel comfortable with new figures.

“Unless there is a good reason,” Broomhead said the court generally does not dispute the reports.

While he had no objection to hashing it out, he said there was not enough time allotted that night for such discussion.

Noecker noted the overall costs had not changed and the decision on cost allocations is up to the court of revision.

“I’m afraid the ball is in your court.”

Broomhead again recommended adjournment to put discussion at a later date.

As both landowners attemp­ted to comment, Broomhead made it clear he was not ac­cepting comments from the floor at that time.

Neither group appeared pleased with the additional adjournment.

A recommendation with revised figures is now expected to be presented at the Nov. 24 meeting.