Rural landowners to appeal pricey assessments to build new drain
Frustrated residents from North Gower and surrounding areas will be able to voice their concerns tonight at a meeting about the Cranberry Creek drain modifications.
About 300 landowners in the area have been asked to pay for upgrades to the drain which will cost $1.5 million. Landowners are assessed for the cost of maintaining the drain under the provincial Drainage Act. Residents will be charged based on the size of their lot, and what their land is zoned for.
Donna Pantelone has been assessed at $9,600.
She plans to appeal to a court of revision, which is made up of three members on behalf of the drainage act, who will decide if the assessment is fair.
Pantelone will argue that her property does not need to be drained, and she should not be charged.
“I feel the city of Ottawa has really let us down,” Pantelone said.
The Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain was built in 1895. In 1990 it was determined that the drain needed about $200-thousand worth of upgrades to function properly.
That was not done.
“It if was done at this time that certainly would have helped with the higher costs,” said councillor Scott Moffatt.
Some residents argue that because it was not properly maintained, that the city should have to pay for fixing it.
“Because the problem is due to the city not maintaining it anyway, suddenly coming back to landowners who are miles away and won’t have any benefit from the drain seems to be very unfair,” said resident, Roger Graves.
There are other residents who see the value in fixing the drain immediately.
Dwight Foster is out thousands of dollars because of croplands flooding.
“This year being the worst, we had over 300 cropland lost,” Foster said.
Councillor Moffatt says fixing the drain is necessary.
“We have about six other municipal drains’ that feed into this one drain. Without this drain those ones have no outlets, so the drain does need to exist.”
As a member of the court of revision, Moffatt says landowners appeals will be listened to this evening. There is a chance some assessments will be modified.
The meeting is scheduled for 7p.m. at the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre in North Gower.