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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Landowner loses bid to shift drainage costs to Highway 401

An Oxford County farmer asked the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal to increase the assessment of drainage costs to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation related to a widening of Highway 401.  An engineer's report had been prepared for various improvements to the Laister Drain required in connection with the widening of the 401 from four lanes to six lanes in the area.  The work would include construction of a section of tile drain from the southern limit of Highway 401, northward under the highway and then approximately 450 metres through agricultural land to an outlet in an open channel on the side of Blandford Road. 

Dunford Royal Cattle Company Inc. asked the Tribunal to amend the assessment against its lands and to allocate a higher assessment against the MTO drainage area (i.e. the highway).  On the issue of the amount of assessments allocated to the various property owners, the drainage engineer stated that he had used the Todgham Method to distribute the cost of the work. This method involves breaking the drain up into sections and assigning the cost of each section as benefit and outlet assessments to the lands using each section of the drain.

The Tribunal found that Dunford did not provide any evidence to contradict the findings or the testimony of the Engineer nor was any evidence put forward to show that the MTO watershed area had been inappropriately assessed.  It ruled that Dunford failed to provide the Tribunal with sufficient evidence that would support any amendment to the Schedule of Assessments for the project and, therefore, the appeal was dismissed.

Read the decision at: Laister Drain.