• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Monday May 13: Ramara council to hear from cottagers on watermain project

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In Council Watch
May 12th, 2019
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$400,000 Bayview Drive proposal has tortuous history

 

Letter from George Fischer, Ramara

I am writing this email to make you aware of the upcoming Deputations by the residents of Bayview Drive (Ward 4) Ramara Township and that it may be newsworthy to have a reporter attend the public meeting of Council on Monday, May 13,2019 in Brechin.

Two property owners on Bayview Drive requested in May 2017 that the city put in a 3 inch Watermain in order to connect to the city water system which was otherwise not available to the residents. This group proposed to pay for the entire cost of the 3 inch Watermain installation.

The Township circulated an informal survey to the property owners also in May 2017 based on incomplete and misleading information, so as to create an impression that the property/lot owners that did not want to connect would not have to incur any costs or charges if they chose not to connect.

A motion was heard on July 16,2018, without proper prior notice to the property/lot owners and was based on incorrect information alleging that 60% of the property lot owners were interested in participating in the Watermain upon receiving further information from the township. However, no such information was forthcoming.

In June 2017, the Manager of Environmental Service. Mr David Readman, recommended to the Committee of the Whole a motion to allow the two property owners to bring in a Waterline of approximately 320 meters to service the two property owners cottages.

In July 2018, at another Committee of the Whole meeting a motion was again made to extend the Watermain but now changed to 6 inch Watermain which according to the motion 60% of the 33 Lot owners were in favour of and 30 against. Based on this survey the Township decided to move ahead with a 6 inch Watermain.

In fact, many of the property/lot owners did not receive this letter nor voted in favour of implementing the 6 inch Watermain. While the 3 inch Watermain cost was to be borne by the cottagers who wanted the water and which was fair.

The Township without notice or consultation decided to move forward and charge the entire approximate cost of the Watermain ($400,000) to ALL the property/Lot owners via a draft bylaw. The draft bylaw would charge approximately $20,000 for each owner of 2 lots (Waterfront and roadside lot) and $10,000 for only the waterfront lot plus a $2000 connection fee. Connections would be mandatory by law after 5 years with penalties imposed if not connected and each property/Lot owner would have to permanently seal any shore or dug wells at significant cost.

Recently, after information of this new 6 inch Watermain was finally uncovered by one of the cottagers in April 2019 and its significant cost, 26 out of the 33 lots or 78 percent of the residents of Bayview Drive were highly motivated to speak up were very angry and decided to file deputations to speak to council and voice their opposition to the 6 inch Watermain and requested that the original 3 inch Watermain as originally intended by the township be installed.

Most of the property/Lot owners did not want this Watermain because they either
could not afford such an expensive outlay and/or because many had various other shore/dug wells with very expensive water purification systems already in place and did not need city water.

We are also aware that the Township has not forced the costs of installing or maintaining watermains on residents of various other streets in the Township where the residents have not connected to the watermain.

For example, those residents who did not wish to bear a cost of the watermain include residents on Florida Avenue from Heritage Farm to the Thall cottage, Spyglass Road where there is no watermain on the road, and lastly those residents on Ira Furniss Drive immediately adjacent to Bayview Drive, even though the watermain is available to other residents on the street who have connected to it for their water source.

As a group of angry cottagers being the majority against the 6 inch Watermain, many of us will show up at the town council meeting of May 13, 7pm and we think that it is important that the news be reported fairly and accurately for such an unfair and heavy handed decision by the Township of Ramara and its council.

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