Three Northeast Town residents look to tribunal for final appeal of Ashley Drain

The Ashley Drain will run from the Boozeneck Road, west to Ted Eadie’s property to Keith Ashley’s, running parallel to North Channel Drive and coming out at the Catholic Cemetery.

LITTLE CURRENT— Northeast Town residents Michael Bailey, Mike Lecuyer and Edward Eadie have appealed the Ashley Drain to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Appeal Tribunal, with the hearing date set for next Tuesday, September 22 in Little Current.

“In the matter of the Drainage Act, R.S.O. 1990, C.D.17 as amended, and the matter of: appeals to the OMAFRA Appeal Tribunal by Michael Bailey, Little Current, Ontario under sections 48(1) and 54(1) of the Drainage Act from the Report of the Engineer and the decision of the Court of Revision; by Mike Lecuyer, Little Current, Ontario under section 48(1) of the Drainage Act from the Report of the Engineer; and by Edward Eadie, Little Current, Ontario under section 54(1) of the Drainage Act from the decision of the Court of Revision on the Ashley Drain in the Northeast Town,” states the Tribunal Order from OMAFRA. “The notices of appeal have identified proposed modifications to the drainage works, benefits of the drainage works are not commensurate with the estimated costs and changes to the assessment of costs of the drainage works.”

Mr. Bailey, Mr. Lecuyer and Mr. Eadie all appealed the drain at the Court of Revision for the Ashley Drain on Thursday, July 2, however none of the appeals were granted leading the proponents to file appeals with the tribunal (their last opportunity to appeal the project).

Keith Ashley originally petitioned for the  drain, which will run from the Boozeneck Road, west to Ted Eadie’s property to Keith Ashley’s, running parallel to North Channel Drive and coming out at the Catholic Cemetery.

The drain includes a large watershed including properties from the top of Wilson Street out to Highway 540.

The cost of the drain (an estimated $240,000) will be split amongst all property owners within the area, with the cost allocated based on how much each property will benefit from the new drain.

The Northeast Town will bear the largest portion of the cost due to the municipal roadways and subdivision, totaling $101,000.

Mr. Bailey, in his appeal to the Court of Revision, stated that the drain will not benefit his property.

“I am on the south side of Highway 540, and unless the culverts on Highway 540 are lowered and ditching done to connect the Ashley Drain, there is no benefit to my property,” stated Mr. Bailey.

The drainage engineer for K Smart agreed with Mr. Bailey that the Ashley Drain is of no benefit when considering the definition of benefit in the Drainage Act and the fact that Mr. Bailey’s property is a distance away from the Ashley Drain.

“However, indirectly the outlet liability assessment is actually a benefit to the Bailey property,” stated a report from K Smart filed for the Court of Revision. “Now that the Ashley Drain will create a proper outlet for drainage in the watershed, a ditch connection could be made between the Ashley Drain and the culvert under Highway 540. Mr. Bailey and others in the subwatershed, through their outlet assessment, will have paid for the right to have their drainage flow in the Ashley Drain. If the Ashley Drain is constructed there is a possibility that the conditions shown in the photographs (submitted with Mr. Bailey’s appeal) could be resolved. Without the Ashley Drain there is little chance to resolve the drainage problem shown in the photos. In my opinion the assessment of the Bailey parcels should not be changed.”

Mr. Lecuyer, whose parcel is located at the outlet of the Ashley Drain,  appealed technical issues with the Ashley Drain report, not assessment, which K Smart explained was beyond the scope of the Court of Revision and would be more appropriate before the Drainage Tribunal.

Edward Eadie, who owns various parcels throughout the upper watershed, stated in his appeal that he felt that the benefit portion of the drain assessment was too high.

K Smart addressed Mr. Eadie’s appeal, saying, “The Eadie appeal makes references to the benefit portion being too high. For parcel 1-004 there is a $500 benefit assessment on the West Branch. The West Branch is within the north side of an unopened road allowance. The Eadie parcel is on the south side of the unopened road allowance and therefore reasonably close to have a direct outlet into the West Branch for drainage form the parcel. The $500 direct benefit is at the low end of the direct benefit assessments on the drain which range from $500 to $10,000.”

“Parcel 1-063 has a benefit assessment of $2,000 on the East Branch,” the K Smart report continues. “Three hundred metres of the East Branch is located along the west limits of this parcel. Ditch improvement will provide some improved drainage to the adjacent land. The main drain benefit which is a $10,500 assessment is in two parts; $2,500 for improved direct outlet, applied to interval 2 in Appendix A (of the engineering report), 436m of ditch improvement across the property, and $8,000 for benefit for improved drainage along the ditch. Both these assessments are reasonable and not high when compared to similar assessments on the Ashley property which are higher.”

“The vacant or idle land use on the Eadie property is not a basis for a reduced benefit assessment,” the report also notes. “The reason the benefit assessment is somewhat lower than for the Ashley property is that the Eadie property has greater slope when compared to the Ashley property, which is very flat. The drain provides slightly greater benefit to the flatter land. In my opinion the benefit assessments to the Eadie parcels are reasonable and should not be changed.”

The tribunal hearing for the Ashley Drain will take place on Tuesday, September 22 in Little Current at the Northeast Town Recreation Centre at 9 am. This will be Mr. Bailey, Mr. Lecuyer and Mr. Eadie’s final opportunity to appeal their assessment.