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Monday, December 20, 2010

Drainage Appeal dismissed by Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs Tribunal

The Baird municipal drain comprises a watershed of approximately 245 hectares of agricultural and wooded lands in the geographic municipality of the Township of Turnberry, now in the municipality of Morris-Turnberry. The drain is comprised of an open channel main drain and three branch drains, Branch A, Branch B and Branch C. Pursuant to a drainage petition filed by Bill Fralick, an engineer’s report was prepared providing for the construction of a new Branch D tile drain on the lands of Donald and Marion Eadie. The Eadies appealed the engineer’s report to the Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal. They asked that the report be amended to provide for the construction of a new drain outside of their lands. In the alternative, if the new Branch D tile drain was to remain on their property, then they asked for certain changes to the set up of the drain. The Eadies also asked that the allowances to be awarded to them as part of the project (the allowances being compensation for land taken and damages caused) be increased.

The Tribunal considered the appellants’ suggestion that the area requiring drainage could be diverted southerly to a different drain watershed.  However, the Tribunal noted that the appellants did not produce any professional evidence to substantiate that suggestion.  Therefore, the Tribunal accepted the engineer’s evidence.  It also considered the appellants’ request to move the proposed catch basis from the top of the drain to another location.  Again, the Tribunal accepted the engineer’s testimony on the reasons for which this proposed change could not be made.

With respect to allowances under Section 29 of the Drainage Act, the engineer testified that he obtained land sale data from Farm Credit Canada to establish a per acre land value of $4,000 used to calculate the allowances.  Mr. Eadie presented a letter from a Mr. Crispin showing the sale for parcels of land for prices higher than $4,000 per acre, but Crispin was not called to testify.  The Tribunal placed limited weight on that evidence.  Ultimately, the Tribunal found that the allowances under Section 29 of the Drainage Act provided in the engineer’s report were fair and equitable and in conformance with the Act. The Tribunal also found that the engineer’s allowances under Section 30 of the Act for crop losses determined to be $500 per acre were fair and equitable and in conformance with the Act.

Read the decision at: Baird Municipal Drain.