$1.4 million Mindemoya drain drain project hits literal rocks

MINDEMOYA—The Mindemoya Drain/Yonge Street reconstruction project in Central Manitoulin has had a bit of a rocky history, eventually becoming a major issue in the last municipal election.

Slated at $1.6 million, the drain was originally petitioned by the municipal staff and would have brought a significant bill to the doorsteps of adjacent landowners.

Luckily for the current council, or perhaps as put more appropriately by Mayor Gerry Strong, thanks to the diligent work by town staff in seeking funding for the project and the willingness of upper tier governments to pony up for the project, the municipality secured $1.44 million in grants for the project, not only relieving local landowners of a significant bill for their share but getting the municipality, and by extension the taxpayers, off the hook as well.

“The original application was made by the previous council,” said Mayor Strong. He pointed out that the municipality was caught between a rock and a hard place on the drain issue. The need for drainage in the back of the Anglin Subdivision was great, as water had no place to flow and there was no legal drainage. “The municipality had no way of legally cleaning (ditches to allow for water flow),” he said. The municipality started the legal process to deal with the issue under the Drainage Act. “It was a safety concern as well,” added the reeve, noting that the Yonge Street hill was a concern for some people due to the line of sight and the number of children who travel down the hill.

“Originally the project was going to be 100 percent taxpayer (and landowner) funded,” said Mayor Strong. “It made it a big election issue.”

The funding from upper tier levels of government was originally going to pay for 100 percent of the work. But now, the Yonge Street reconstruction/drain project has literally hit a rock—lots of rock.

“You would think the engineers would have picked up on that when they drilled their test holes,” said the mayor, surmising that perhaps the test holes travelled down into the old trenches of the existing sewer and water lines.

Although the unanticipated rock will mean a higher bill is coming for the work, Mayor Strong noted that the amount that taxpayers and landowners will be on the hook for would still be far more manageable than had been envisioned under the original drain application. “It will be significantly reduced because of the grant,” he said. “Although this is going to increase the hit on the taxpayer, it will certainly not be anything like $1.44 million.”

Mayor Strong also noted during a council meeting that the contractor appears to be inclined to be cooperative in working with the municipality to reduce the costs associated with the unanticipated rock.