Mill Creek municipal drain moves forward after revisions aimed at smaller residential lots

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The first two readings of a by-law that will allow work to continue for the Mill Creek Municipal Drain took place at a special meeting of council on May 3, 2022.

The Board accepted Robinson Consultants Inc.’s engineering report, which included changes to the project, estimated to cost $2.3 million. The amendments address concerns expressed by owners of small residential lots affected by the construction of the drainage system and ongoing maintenance.

At a public meeting held on March 9, 2022 at the Vankleek Hill Community Center, it was recommended that the engineering company reconsider a 25 meter right-of-way allocation for future maintenance of the drain, considering particularly with regard to small residential lots. In addition, in respect of smaller residential lots, the 50-meter right-of-way for construction related to future work had to be reconsidered. During this meeting, the engineers and Éric Leroux, superintendent of municipal drainage, recognized that for agricultural land, the right-of-way would not be as large as for those with smaller residential lots.

Reduced “working space” for residential lots under two hectares

At its special meeting on May 3, the board received changes and amendments from the engineers. One change can be summarized as follows: When “working space” affects smaller lots, less than two hectares, the construction working space has been reduced to 8 meters, of the designated working space usual 50 meters from the top of the Bank. For pipe maintenance, the working space has been reduced to five metres. It is important to note that the drain report includes the condition that the “work space” be free of permanent obstructions, including (but not limited to), plantings (trees), non-removable fences, structures and/or other permanent landscaping features.

The issue of working space as it applies to small lots has been addressed (for construction and maintenance), in that section 10 has been deleted and replaced as follows:

Pursuant to Section 63(1) of the Ontario Drainage Act, RSO 1990 (provided below), “working space” must be available for construction and future maintenance.

63 (1) The contractor and his assistants, when engaged in the construction, maintenance, improvement or repair of drainage works, may with their equipment enter any land necessary to complete work in the designated workspace
in the engineer’s report. RSO 1990, c. D.17, s. 63 (1).

For construction purposes, the standard working space adjacent to the drain should be available along the side that is best suited for construction. In some sections of the drain, it may be necessary to complete construction or maintenance on both sides of the drain. The designated work space is located 50 m from the top of the bank and is necessary to allow construction to take place and the spreading of excavated materials. Where “working space” impacts small (residential) lots less than 2.0ha in size, construction working space is reduced to 8.0m and is assumed to be zoning compliant / existing official plan and other regulatory setbacks.

For the purpose of future maintenance, the standard working space adjacent to the drain must be available along the side of the drain where maintenance is required (either or both sides). The designated work space is located 25 m from the top of the bank and is necessary to allow maintenance and the spreading of excavated materials. When “working space” affects small (residential) lots, less than 2.0 ha in size, the maintenance working space is reduced to 5.0 m.

In accordance with SP3.1.2 of the Engineer’s Report, all excavated material from small lots must be removed off-site. It is recommended that the work area be free of permanent obstructions including (but not limited to) plantings (trees), non-removable fences, structures and/or other furnishings permanent landscaping.

Access to the work space for construction, inspection or maintenance purposes is limited to those persons prescribed under the Ontario Drainage Act, RSO1990, namely the drainage engineer ( or his assistants) – S.12(1), the contractor (or his assistants) – S.63(1) and/or the superintendent of drainage (or his assistants) – S.95(3). Wherever possible (excluding emergencies), it is necessary to provide a minimum of 48 hours notice (in writing) or direct communication with the affected owner prior to accessing the drain workspace.
APPENDIX F – SPECIFIC PROVISIONS (SP 1.0 – WORKSPACE) SP 1.0 is amended as prescribed by this Addendum for Section 10 – Workspace.

Section 7.5 – Allocations is amended to include the following:
An allowance is given to small lots (less than 2.0 ha) used for drain access for construction or future maintenance. This allowance is given to specified properties on the basis that restrictions are imposed on the area of ​​land specified as “working space”, including the requirement to be free from permanent obstructions, including (but not including limit), plantations (trees), immovable
fences, structures and/or other permanent landscape features.

Land allocations for affected lots are applied as prescribed by Schedule E1 – attached to the Engineers Report presented at the May 3 meeting. You can view the May 3 meeting agenda, engineers’ letter, and schedules by clicking the link for the meeting agenda here.

In total, more than 2,000 properties are assessed for some of the costs of the approximately seven kilometer long drain. There are over 500 landowners in Champlain Township and The Nation Municipality who will pay for the drainage work. The drainage area encompasses approximately 6,695 hectares, or 17,210 acres. Some property owners are valued in the tens of thousands of dollars while some residential owners pay less than $100, according to the valuation schedule, which uses various factors to calculate what homeowners will pay. Factors include proximity to the drain, benefits, property size, and property type.


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