SOUTH GLENGARRY, Ontario – After eight years of effort to come to an agreement with the City of Cornwall on providing services to properties on the east side of Boundary Rd., the South Glengarry is seeking a public meeting to finally come to a settlement.
In 2013, the Township of South Glengarry sought to get properties on their side of Boundary Rd. connected to the City of Cornwall water and sewer system. Cornwall retained Watson & Associates to conduct a study which informed a later agreement proposed between the two municipalities.
The Township had several concerns with the proposal and retained McIntosh Perry to do their own review of Cornwall’s numbers.
“What we decided to do, and Cornwall was well aware of this, was to have a third party review,” said Ewen MacDonald, South Glengarry’s General Manager of Infrastructure. “What the review does is pretty much validate the concerns we had with the report.”
Concerns of the Township of South Glengarry included Cornwall’s estimates for connection costs, in addition to costs to developers and control over future development of the land.
McIntosh Perry stated that part of the connection cost for the services was the cost of replacement, with water services costing $153 million, and waste water $114 million for replacement. These numbers could not be independently confirmed by McIntosh Perry, and they recommended an audit.
“The rational behind the connection charge requirement considers that the current City of Cornwall sewer and water rates do not include provisions for replacement capital costs,” reads the McIntosh Perry report.
McIntosh Perry points out however that in the City of Cornwall’s 2015 Water and Waste Water Financial Plan, such provisions are made to use some of the water and sewer usage rates that are collected for future replacement costs.
In a letter in 2019, the Township of South Glengarry raised concerns that the connection costs and the usage rates would mean that the Township and that property owners would be paying the cost of replacement twice.
Other concerns include the control that the City of Cornwall has over the water and waste water service to the east side of Boundary Rd.
The current agreement limits the Township’s use of the water and waste water service, preventing them from using them for industrial or farm properties, as well as Cornwall reserving the right to control when, where and how connections to their water system are made and the quantity of water that passes through those pipes. These are just some of the constraints that the City is requiring of the Township in the agreement.
Additionally, McIntosh Perry noted that the agreement as is could limit future property development on Boundary Rd.
“Although the removal of capital charge related to sewer and water infrastructure would reduce the fee the combination of charges indicates a developer would pay over $500,000 in the first year more than a comparable development in the City of Cornwall,” reads the report.
To resolve these issues, Township council is seeking to present to Cornwall City Council as soon as possible.
“A lot of this seems to be coming through staff and what I want is to have a one on one with their council,” said South Glengarry Councillor Martin Lang. “It has been eight years, and we have to make a decision here.”
Mayor Frank Prevost sounded hopeful that Cornwall Council could be swayed.
“I think their council is not fully aware of what is in the report,” he said.
Councillor Sam McDonell was more skeptical of Cornwall’s intentions.
“We’ve been asking for eight years,” he said. “I think the City of Cornwall has forgot that some of the provincial money they’ve got was meant to make space for us. I’m hesitant to go into business with a corporation that won’t give us the time of day. We see what eight years of trying to get a deal has got us and it hasn’t gotten us more than a thought.”
The Township of South Glengarry hopes to make their case to the City of Cornwall in July.