Township enters easement agreement with GRCA

ELORA – A fence will be going up along the new storm sewer outlet easement in Inverhaugh.

On Nov. 25, Centre Wellington council authorized an easement agreement between the township and the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) for the construction of a storm sewer outlet located on GRCA lands at 7236 Wellington Road 21.

The outlet will service the new Swan Creek subdivision as well as Sideroad 4 and Wellington Road 21.

“The agreement has been prepared to mutually benefit both the GRCA and the township setting out guidelines related to the installation, access, maintenance and use of the storm sewer outlet on the GRCA lands,” stated Brandon Buehler, township engineering technologist for water/wastewater, in a report to council.

“Reading the document … here … it would seem that the Grand River Conservation Authority has no obligation to prevent unauthorized access and that’s completely under the township’s responsibilities,” stated councillor Kirk McElwain.

“And yet I understood that it was the Grand River Conservation Authority that were insisting on having a fence. The neighbour certainly doesn’t want it and it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense for us to waste money on it.”

He added, “I’m just curious if there is an opportunity here to change that plan based on the fact that it’s completely the authority of the township and not the GRCA.”

Baker explained the GRCA requested the fence installation because there was an encroachment on the GRCA lands from the neighbouring property.

“The fence would address that issue,” he said.

McElwain said the neighbours weren’t encroaching because previous GRCA representatives had allowed it to happen.

“As a matter of fact (they)provided a key to the gate to the property so that it could happen,” McElwain said, adding the neighbours haven’t encroached since the GRCA asked them to stop.

“It’s a matter of the rules have changed, they’re willing to change with the rules and putting a page wire fence beside their property has a real negative impact on their property value and it just doesn’t seem to be a wise thing to do, particularly when there’s no fence running across the front of their property or the other side of their property or along the river where fishermen can go in and encroach,” McElwain said. “Putting a fence on one side makes very little sense because you can access it from any other side.”

Baker did point out that the GRCA said a fence wasn’t necessary if the municipality was willing to accept 100 per cent of the liability of any potential claim related to the property because there was no fence.

“From staff’s perspective that wouldn’t be a wise decision and so we’re proceeding with the fence installation; probably the next couple weeks is when that would go up,” Baker said.

CAO Andy Goldie explained that putting up a fence only in the area where work has occurred is standard practice for the GRCA and township to “protect our liability on the long term.”

Council voted in favour of the easement agreement with McElwain and councillor Bob Foster opposed. Councillor Stephen Kitras was absent.