Lengthy debate about lakeshore water pipeline ends in deferral
By Liz Dadson
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A lengthy debate about who should be exempted from the
mandatory payment for users of the lakeshore drinking water pipeline,
ended in a deferral at the Kincardine council meeting Wednesday night
In committee-of-the-whole, Marian Daniel, who lives on Bruce County Road 23 (B-Line) in Ward 2, told council that her family's farm should be exempted even though it has a house on it. Council had already exempted vacant farms.
She said 10 years ago, when the pipeline was built, all the property owners along it were given the choice to connect.
"It was totally optional, not mandatory," she said. "Jim O'Rourke (former public works manager) said that Kincardine could cover the cost of non-mandatory hook-ups through a consolidated water fund. What happened to you keeping your promises, keeping your word?"
Daniel said when the mandatory payment bylaw was approved this spring, the trust between council and the properties owners along the pipeline, was broken.
She said council could restore that trust by using the consolidated water fund that O'Rourke referenced, to pay off the pipeline debt.
"Or use the money from the sale of Bruce Telecom," she said. "It was local farmers who set up that company originally."
Or, she said, charge a one-time debt-reduction fee to all taxpayers and pay off the pipeline debt, once and for all. "That way, you solve the problem with help from all the taxpayers, not just on the shoulders of a few."
Daniel asked that council reopen the discussion about the mandatory payment for users of the lakeshore water pipeline, and consider the harm and burden being placed on 200 families along the pipeline corridor.
She also asked council to extend the time frame beyond the deadline of June 16 after which the municipality would add the $7,200 payment to the September tax bill. And she requested all farm properties be exempt, with or without a residence on them.
Patrick Jilesen of Saugeen Shores, representing the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture, pointed out that on-farm water consumption can run as high as 4.5-million to five-million litres per year for a 200 cow-calf operation.
"I think that would have a huge impact on the Kincardine water system infrastructure and capacity," he said. "I'm not sure Kincardine is prepared to take on the cost of increasing the water infrastructure."
He said farmers do not want to use treated water for their livestock so depend on a well to provide the water.
Jilesen said the Chesley-to-Paisley waterline passes about a dozen concession roads and none of the farm owners has been asked to connect to, or pay for, the waterline.
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said she understands that, at the very least, council should make an amendment to exempt all farm properties, including those with residences.
Councillor Maureen Couture said council requires information from the treasurer, who was not at the meeting, to determine the impact on the finances of the pipeline if all farm properties are exempted.
Eadie said she spoke to treasurer Roxana Baumann who said there would be six additional properties exempted.
Councillor Guy Anderson said council should not be allowing active farms to tie into the waterline for the capacity concerns that Jilesen pointed out.
Councillor Candy Hewitt said the lakeshore pipeline was extended for the protection of Kincardine residents along the B-line, to provide them with standardized drinking water.
"Our highest-risk community is along the shoreline," she said, "and that's where the pipeline is. The concern is real. At some point, those not hooked up are going to have a problem. If a family goes to the cottage and one person gets sick because of the water, that's one person too many."
She said there has to be a financial contribution for the end users whether they are hooked up to the pipeline or not. "Paying the ($7,200) charge now is cheaper than paying it in the future."
Mayor Larry Kraemer said council should pay the debt from water reserves and then replenish those reserves as new properties hook up to the pipeline.
Eadie put forward her motion to have all bona fide farm properties, assessed agricultural, along the pipeline, be exempt from the mandatory payment.
Kraemer then asked for a deferral to the June 18 council meeting to get more financial information from the treasurer.
Councillor Kenneth Craig suggested another amendment to the bylaw, regarding the payment schedule, delaying the deadline to September of 2015.
However, Hewitt noted there wasn't enough time to change the deadline which is Monday, June 16. Plus, some property owners have already paid the mandatory payment.
Craig's motion was defeated.
Council agreed to defer the issue until the June 18 meeting.
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Sunday, June 15, 2014