Mindemoya Drain report presented to Central residents

MINDEMOYA—The long-awaited engineers’ report on the Mindemoya Drain was presented to council members during a November 4 public meeting at the Mindemoya Hall to outline the report and to answer questions.

Those in attendance were welcomed by Central Manitoulin Mayor Gerry Strong, who then turned the meeting over to Mr. Kuntze of K. Smart Associates Limited, who was the engineer responsible for the Mindemoya Drain project. K. Smart Associates Limited was the company appointed by the Central Manitoulin Council of 2008 to report on the petition received by the road superintendent for improved drainage in the Yonge Street area. Council also received a report requesting improved drainage for the Mindemoya Missionary Church area. At the request of the church and as directed by the Tribunal Order of 2010, the Missionary branch was deleted. Existing watercourses, sinkholes and culverts are to be incorporated as part of the overflow route for the Mindemoya Drain. In 2012, a resolution by Central Manitoulin council was adopted which saw the Mindemoya Drain separated from the Yonge Street construction and the Yonge Street construction would not go ahead. The original estimated cost for the project was $1,568,400, but that has now been estimated to be approximately $972,915.

Mr. Kuntze spent some time outlining meetings held with citizens and site examinations following the tribunal hearing. He explained that a culvert will be installed on the property previously owned by Lois Lockhart and now owned by Steven and Lise Shaffer and this culvert will now be a crossing. He also explained that the route of a new drain on the Maja Mielonen property would be on the east side of the existing row of cedar trees on the property and an open channel would run parallel to the line of trees. The culvert under King Street is not being removed and thus there will not be a need for a culvert extension southerly on the Tom Shaw property as was originally proposed in the original report.

Mr. Kuntze also explained two assessments in effect with the one being the special benefit assessment to the municipality for original road work cost and this would be $96,000. The special benefit cost to the Mindemoya Missionary Church would be $4,000.

As well, the outlet assessment to all roads and lands in the assessed area would affect certain lots. There are certain areas of land where water can flow in two directions and this would be primarily the land belonging to Community Living Manitoulin with the area being on the north side of King Street as it heads west. Water here can flow to the Mindemoya Drain as well as the Mindemoya South Drain.

The K. Smart report also included construction costs estimates, engineering costs estimates and non-administrative costs, again estimated and, as Mr. Kuntze explained, once this system is in place, the report clearly defines that the maintenance required will be up to the municipality.

Mr. Kuntze took questions from the audience after outlining his report with Central Manitoulin treasurer Denise Deforge answering a query about payment for assessments. As she explained, there is no interest charged on drainage assessments and they are generally billed out. A payment plan with so much paid each month can also be set up. If an assessment is not paid, however, it can be moved on to a tax bill after five years.

Mr. Kuntze outlined the assessment process and said, “you cannot go back and assess people for something that happened in the past. You can only assess on what is happening now. We are trying to control water flow with this system and the residents who will benefit from this are the ones being assessed.”

Another question was raised by Ms. Mielonen who asked about sinkholes on properties. Mr. Kuntze explained that all sinkholes are to be considered part of the drain and are to be left unobstructed as they are protected. And when Ms. Mielonen asked about the swale on her property, Mr. Kuntze responded that it will be graded so that the water will flow towards the highway culvert.

Mr. Kuntze also answered questions from people who were concerned about too much water on their properties and explained that the design capacity in the pipe is a 50-year capacity. “You should give us a chance to do this and make it work,” he added.

A question was also raised about reassessment. Mr. Kuntze clearly explained that future assessments will be inexpensive as the maintenance required will be low-key and will include such things as cleaning out catch-basins. “Once this system is in place, the maintenance required will be minimal.”

Central Manitoulin council will have to wait for Court of Revision and tribunal hearings regarding the Mindemoya Drain, but they expect to get construction started in the spring of 2014.

Betty Bardswich