Kincardine Broken Promise Group launches legal action
against municipality

Kincardine council

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The Kincardine Broken Promise Group has started legal action against the Municipality of Kincardine on Bylaw 2014-044.

The action stems from an April 9 vote on Bylaw 2014-044, when Kincardine council agreed to proceed with a mandatory capital charge on all properties along the lakeshore drinking water pipeline which have not yet connected. Each would have to pay a $7,200 fee, even if the property owner does not connect to the system.

The decision was actually approved Nov. 6, 2013, when council approved the mandatory payment only (no requirement to connect) for all properties along the pipeline which runs north of the Kincardine hospital to Inverhuron Provincial Park.

These payments would finally retire the $1.5-million pipeline debt which has haunted council for the past decade.

At the Aug. 13 council meeting, a crowd of property owners became upset with council when it refused to reconsider this bylaw.

Michael Smith, spokesman for the group, told council that there is currently $5.1-million in Kincardine water reserves which would cover the $1.5-million stranded debt from the pipeline.

However, four members of council: deputy mayor Anne Eadie and councillors Maureen Couture, Candy Hewitt and Kenneth Craig, voted against using those reserves, or any other municipal reserve, to pay off the debt, said Smith.

Consequently, in April, the decision was made to charge each property owner along the pipeline route, a capital charge of $7,260 per lot.

Calling this Kincardine's "broken promise," Smith said that most of the discussions leading to the bylaw were held between November, 2013, and April, 2014, when many property owners were not in the area.

Subsequently, Smith said, via E-mail, the group launched a legal action Oct. 19, through its law firm, Fallis, Fallis and McMillan, challenging Bylaw 2014-044. The application is 20 pages long and contains 60 clauses. To read the full document click here.

The three main arguments are:

  • Bylaw 2014-044 was beyond the legislative power of the municipality
  • Bylaw 2014-044 violated the rules of procedural fairness owed to the affected landowners
  • Bylaw 2014-044 made charges that were not meaningful under the Municipal Act

All funds should be refunded, both capital and interest charges, said Smith.

Council has until Dec. 17, 2014, to respond to the application. If council does not respond, then the court could make a ruling on its own, Smith said.

"The new council will have new people who have listened to our concerns before and during the election campaign," Smith said. "We are hopeful they may decide to rescind Bylaw 2014-044 rather than face an expensive court battle that could very well rule against them."

For more on this story, read the article below:

Kincardine council Angry crowd to take legal action over mandatory pipeline charge   Read More

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014