There will be no financial relief for Petrolia residents on Tile Yard Road.
Enniskillen Township is preparing to repair the road, which it shares with Petrolia but first it has to build a new drain.
The work will cost $322,000. That cost has been divided between Enniskillen, Petrolia and the residents along the road under the Drainage Act.
That blindsided town residents who didn’t realize they could be forced to pay for a municipal drain built by another municipality.
Jonathan Hart and his neighbour, Andrew Hart, have voiced concerns to council on behalf of the nine homeowners. “There is no doubt drainage work is necessary,” Andrew Hart says “and the cost needs to be borne for the work that is to be done. What’s different is the boundary of the town, specifically for tile yard…the catchment area falls within the town.”
Hart argues the Tile Yard Road residents already pay for drainage through their taxes. “I’d like to be reassured were not paying twice – in a sense that our taxes pay for sewage cost, too.”
Jonathan Hart argued it doesn’t make sense for the Petrolia residents to pay for the Enniskillen Drain. “Water is draining into Petrolia …seems like we are paying for it twice when it really is Petrolia water draining into Petrolia.”
But town council says their hands are essentially tied since in the past in similar situations town residents pay the cost of the drain and the Drainage Act, which governs the work, “supersedes anything we can do in Petrolia,” according to Mayor John McCharles.
“We’ve mulled over this quite a bit,” says Councilor Tim Brown who sits on the Drainage Board. “You have to understand – if you could put yourself in our shoes this is the decision; this is what has to happen, there have been precedents set. I’m sorry it is not a better decision for you.”
Council agreed the homeowners should each pay the amount assessed. The town will have to pay $37,000 as its share of the project.
Both the homeowners and the town could face more costs in the future. Under the Drainage Act, the people benefiting from the drain also pay for its clean out when it gets clogged in the future.