Coun­cil­lors clash over Maxville road­work

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY STEVEN WARBURTON News Staff

In what may have been one of the most con­tentious North Glen­garry coun­cil meet­ings in re­cent his­tory, two coun­cil­lors ex­changed heated barbs over ad­di­tional road­work in Maxville in the wake of the vil­lage’s wa­ter project.

Lochiel Coun­cil­lor Brian Cad­dell and Maxville Coun­cil­lor Carma Wil­liams, who are both run­ning for the Deputy mayor’s post, clashed when coun­cil ap­proved the $327,233 job, though the town­ship claims that to­tal will drop to just over $239,000 with up­per lev­els of gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Mr. Cad­dell com­plained the ex­tra work was an ad­di­tional debt, ex­press­ing skep­ti­cism that the town­ship would land the ex­tras $4.5 mil­lion that the prov­ince has, ap­par­ently, ear­marked for the project.

“Even if we get this $4.5 mil­lion, we’re still $2 mil­lion short,” he said. “I fear debt and this is just debt to me.”

Mr. Cad­dell also con­tended that the ad­di­tional road­work is un­nec­es­sary.

“No of­fence to Maxville but it’s a vil­lage,” he said. “It doesn’t need per­fect streets. It has dead-end roads.”

This re­mark didn’t sit well with Ms. Wil­liams, who pro­ceeded to up­braid her col­league.

“Brian, you fail to un­der­stand that is a good news sce­nario,” she said, adding that the wa­ter project is un­der bud­get. “If we get that ex­tra $ 4.5 mil­lion, we could do more roads. This shows what lit­tle re­gard you have for the peo­ple of Maxville. We should main­tain those roads.”

Later, she main­tained that the project was mov­ing for­ward any­way and urged Mr. Cad­dell to “stop be­ing so ob­jec­tion­able.”

Mr. Cad­dell ac­cused Ms. Wil­liams of “mak­ing this per­sonal” and in­sisted that his only con­cern was that the wa­ter project is caus­ing the town­ship to ac­cu­mu­late debt.

As an ex­am­ple, he pointed to Maxville’s wa­ter treat­ment plant, which, he said, ini­tially re­quired up­grades of about $ 3 mil­lion and is now pro­jected to cost $4 mil­lion.

“I say we’re in debt now and ev­ery­thing we add just adds to our debt.”

Un­der bud­get

CAO Sarah Huskin­son says that the Maxville Wa­ter Project is ac­tu­ally about $700,000 un­der bud­get, some­thing that came to light af­ter con­trac­tors and en­gi­neer­ing firms com­pleted their es­ti­mates.

As such, a num­ber of Mr. Cad­dell’s fel­low coun­cil­lors chal­lenged him on his view that the town­ship was pil­ing on debt.

Kenyon Coun­cil­lor Jeff Man­ley asked Mr. Cad­dell why he thought the town­ship would be an ex­tra $ 2 mil­lion in debt, say­ing that the fig­ures don’t show that North Glen­garry would be over bud­get.

Mr. Cad­dell later clar­i­fied his view, say­ing that work on the project has just started and that coun­cil shouldn’t be tak­ing on ad­di­tional work un­til it has a bet­ter idea as to what the fi­nal price tag is go­ing to be.

He claims that mas­sive in­fra- struc­ture projects like this one have a ten­dency to go 10 per cent over bud­get and says that coun­cil should be con­ser­va­tive about spend­ing un­til the bulk of the work is com­pleted, par­tic­u­larly the lay­ing of the pipe that will bring the wa­ter into Maxville from Alexan­dria.

The project it­self was ex­pected to cost about $ 30 mil­lion. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has picked up 50 per cent of that to­tal with the prov­ince pick­ing up an ad­di­tional 25 per cent. The town­ship it­self is ex­pected to pay for the fi­nal 25 per cent, about $7.5 mil­lion.

$4.5 mil­lion

Mr. Cad­dell wasn’t the only one skep­ti­cal about the sup­posed $4.5 mil­lion com­ing from the prov­ince, es­pe­cially since the gov­ern­ment has changed hands since the ad­di­tional fund­ing was promised.

Mayor Chris McDonell ex­pressed con­cern that the new PC gov­ern­ment wouldn’t hon­our the com­mit­ment, though Ms. Wil­liams as­sured him that the gov­ern­ment pledged it would fol­low through. It merely had to put that pledge in writ­ing.

Later, Mr. McDonell said he was happy Maxville wasn’t get­ting its wa­ter from Corn­wall, which was once con­sid­ered a pos­si­bil­ity.

“We’d be up to $ 100 mil­lion now,” he said.

Ms. Huskin­son says that so far, the town­ship has spent about $ 3 mil­lion on the wa­ter project.

Ex­tra road­work

The six dif­fer­ent road­work projects amount to just over one kilo­me­tre of streets within the vil­lage. They in­clude two sec­tions of Cather­ine Street East ( one from Main Street to JH Munro, the other from JH Munro un­til the dead end,) Alexan­der Street West from the dead end to Main Street, Spring Street from Cather­ine Street W. to Ge­orge Street, John Street from Me­chanic Street to Alexan­der Street West, and King Street N. from Alexan­der Street to Me­chanic Street.

Now that coun­cil has ap­proved the work, the Maxville Wa­ter Project would be about $460,000 un­der bud­get.

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