By Barb McKay
The municipality is going back on its word that costs for the water pipeline project from the former Town of
Allen Wickert, who owns a farm on Bruce County Road 23, told Kincardine council during its meeting last Wednesday that staff and council today are trying to reconcile past decisions made for the project.
“I was at the table when the project was developed,” he said. “It was supposed to be full cost recovery. I don’t know what went wrong, but something went wrong.”
Wickert said at the time the pipeline project was started nearly a decade ago he assisted the municipality by helping them dump 3,800 loads of fill into a pit adjacent to his property in order to help cut costs. Had he known then that he might now be required to pay thousands of dollars to connect to the pipeline he might have requested compensation.
Wickert said the debt was created when the municipality decided to put a water connection shut off on every property even though many property owners said they did not want it.
But the current debt figure of roughly $1.5 million isn’t accurate, based on his calculations, he said. In the first two years of the project $6,100 was collected for each of the 358 connections that came on board first. Another 204 connections were to be paid over a 15-year period, Wickert said. Another 23 properties connected later on at a premium cost of $7,500 each, for a total of $1.2 million, including additional fees.
Resident John Bondy, whose property is within the water pipeline project boundaries, said the municipality should be paying the debt out of water reserves, which currently hold $5.2 million. He said the reserve fund would be replenished over time as lands in Kincardine are developed further.
Inverhuron resident Russ Ridley, said he opted out of connecting to the water pipeline when Ontario Parks requested the pipeline be extended to the provincial park and it ran across the front of his property. Now that sewer lines will also be extended to Inverhuron if he is forced to connect to water as well, Ridley said he will be on the hook for approximately $20,000.
“That’s quite a hit for someone who is retired,” he said. “We were given the option to opt out and a deal is a deal.”
Ridley said the original plan was that property owners would only have to hook up to the pipeline if their wells were faulty.
“What I’m hearing is that the deal here is not the agreement that was in place years ago,” said councillor Ron Coristine.
Ridley said there is nothing wrong with his well and that is why he chose not to connect.
“I might mention that this building (municipal building) manages quite well on its own well and you are only a kilometre from a pipeline,” Ridley said.
Council deferred a decision on the pipeline until treasurer Roxana Baumann is available to go over financial figures.