Tay council doesn’t like Enbridge Gas’ plan to get more money from the municipality.

A letter from the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors (AORS) made its way onto the regular meeting of Tay council recently, alerting municipalities across the province to a recent announcement by utility provider Enbridge Gas on charging for locate fees.

The fee proposed by Enbridge would apply a $200 plus tax fee per locate request to third-party contractors and other utilities where a field locate is required. Included in these third-party contractors are Ontario municipalities and contractors working on their behalf.

According to the AORS, estimated direct costs based on 2022 municipal locate requests alone would have had an approximate annual impact of $35,000 on the Municipality of Central Huron, $90,000 on the City of Belleville, and $7,300 on the Town of Espanola.

Deputy Mayor Barry Norris spoke to the correspondence at the meeting, and how Tay taxpayers would be affected if the Enbridge proposal is enacted.

“The (AORS) has great concerns about this,” said Norris. “Even I do, because we’ve made so many attempts to (get residents and contractors) to ‘call before your dig’ to ensure that your utilities are well located.

“From the municipality’s point of view, we don’t get any revenue back anymore for utilities, whereby we used to years ago. This is like a double whammy. They’re using our land for free even though we are supplying,” Norris added.

Enbridge noted that changes to the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act in April 2022 caused the company to make significant associated operational investments.

Norris asked general manager of operational services and manager of engineering services Shawn Berriault what his perspective was.

“I think it’s something that council should endorse,” replied Berriault. “There’s no way we should be paying $200 per locate for them having their services in our right-of-ways.”

A motion was quickly passed that Tay council “strongly opposes these utility locate costs being downloaded to Ontario municipalities by Enbridge gas or other utilities”, noting that if left open, other utility companies could use the set precedent to also charge for locates.

Support for the AORS letter was to be sent to Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery Kaleed Rasheed, Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma, Minister of Energy Todd Smith, Premier Doug Ford, MPP Jill Dunlop and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

The AORS letter can be found in the agenda on the Tay Township website.

Tay council meets for committee of the whole meetings every second Wednesday of the month, and regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Archives and livestreams of council meetings are available through the Tay Township YouTube channel.

By Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 27, 2023 at 13:36

This item reprinted with permission from   MidlandToday.ca   Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
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