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Council approves Briars communities connection to municipal water supply

Posted July 6, 2018

New Tecumseth council has agreed to provide Green Briar and Briar Hill with a connection to the municipal water supply up to a maximum of 228 cubic meters per day, at the current residential rate charged users in Alliston, Beeton and Tottenham.

The entire matter has been dealt with by councillors in camera, and its terms released only as part of the minutes, whose actions were ratified in a special meeting that followed the June 25th in camera session.

According to the minutes, the agreement provides a minimum daily allocation of 50 cubic meters per day, up to the maximum of 228 cubic meters.

"And further that the settlement payments and costs shall be calculated on 50 m3 /day for a specified period of time plus, a contribution to legal costs; And further that the as built documents and manuals shall be delivered by the Servicing Organizations to the Town by the end of September 2018; And further that the letters of credit be updated."

In December 2017, Town solicitor Jay Feehely told council, "While it is clear these were fundamental obligations under the 2000 Agreement (to provide water), there may be an issue as to whether or not either or both of these obligations continue to survive, either in whole or in part. The issues are significant. Had the developer made the required payments to the end of 2017, it is my understanding that the obligation would have been in the order of $1,288,000. However, there is no evidence that the Municipality either requested payment or took any steps of enforcement. The Agreements do not provide any guidance in terms of what happens if there is default by either or both parties."

The condominium boards in the Briars communities hired Tony Fleming C.S. Certified Specialist in Municipal Law (Local Government/Land Use Planning & Development) Partner Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP, to represent them.

Mr. Fleming confirmed this week his firm is retained, but had not yet "received any information from the municipality and as such I do not have instructions from my clients."

The condo boards are opposed to being charged for any portion of the new connections. The Briars are serviced by private water and wastewater systems, whose rates are incorporated into the condo fees.

In his submission to the Town last December Mr. Fleming said, "Our advice to our clients is to vigorously contest any attempt to impose such a charge. The provisions of the 2000 Communal Servicing Responsibility Agreement also impose no obligation on the Town to provide the municipal connection and supply that BHRSO is currently requesting. In the absence of a positive contractual obligation, and in the face of the fact that there is no authority to unilaterally alter the private servicing system, we urge the Town to refuse to connect in order to avoid costly litigation."

Mr. Fleming suggested in his review the Town and the developer nullified the agreement because neither side implemented its terms, and any connection would require consent of the condo corportations.

"We again emphasize that there are no issues with the supply of water to Briar Hill under the current private communal servicing system," concluded Mr. Fleming. "There is therefore no need for the connection to the municipal supply that has been proposed by BHRSO and the Developer, and it is a proposal that the residents of Briar Hill neither want nor require. We urge the Developer and BHRSO to withdraw their proposal for a municipal connection, and the Town to deny any and all requests for such."

Council has kept the matter in camera because Mr. Feehely has suggested the potential for litigation.

Ward 4 councillor Fran Sainsbury, and Ward 5 councillor Peter Anderson, have declared conflicts of interest on the matter as they both reside in the Briars.

On Monday night, councillors are expected to approve planning amendments that permit Cable Bridge (Biffis) to build 20 additional homes in Briar Hill on land formerly part of the Ridge golf course.

At this post no further details are confirmed.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri