Eight years and still no waterworks deal; South Glengarry growing frustrated with Cornwall

In this February 2014, file photo, a truck stop and Tim Hortons are under construction on the east side of Boundary Road, south of Highway 401, in South Glengarry, Ont. Sites like this could have been serviced with water and sewer from the City of Cornwall under a joint servicing agreement, which is now eight years in the making. South Glengarry wants a face-to-face meeting with city council as early as next month. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

LANCASTER – After eight years of back-and-forth negotiations, some South Glengarry councillors are growing frustrated with the process of trying to ink a waterworks deal with the City of Cornwall.

The township recently had a third-party review of the proposal to service the east side of Boundary Road from Tyotown Road to Highway 401 with water and sewer.

Infrastructure General Manager Ewen MacDonald said the review essentially validated their concerns with the agreement.

Among those concerns are clauses that “limit the rights of the township following a significant financial investment” – namely, the City of Cornwall has sole discretion on when and where connections take place along Boundary Road and their size. Connection charges also appear to be based on full asset value of the Cornwall water and sewer plants and not on their depreciated values.

The frustration was palpable as councillors discussed the situation Monday night.

“It seems to verify exactly what some of us were thinking…some inequities…being charged double or three times what I would have thought would have been the right amount. I think we need to give this a serious look over,” Coun. Martin Lang said. “We’re going on eight years, we’re going to have to make a decision here. We’ve gone on long enough.”

Mayor Frank Prevost believes city councillors may not be “100 per cent fully aware of what’s in the report” because the agreement is being run through administration.

But Coun. Sam McDonell was forthright with his feelings about the City of Cornwall, saying that maybe the city forgot the provincial investment for their plants was also to reserve space on the system for other municipalities.

“I don’t like the way they’ve treated us so far over eight years and I don’t know why we would want to go into business with a corporation that doesn’t want to give us the time of day really or throws us crazy offers. I’d prefer us to do this on our own.”

While he cautioned going into a deal with Cornwall, McDonell still wants to explore the option but it “hasn’t gotten us very much further than the thought” over eight years.

South Glengarry wants a delegation with the City of Cornwall, hopefully as soon as next month.

Mayor Prevost doesn’t want to put the matter off any longer, saying he would like to be a delegation for a July city council meeting.