Over the past few months, there has been much criticism of the Haldimand Council – and rightly so! The following is a condensed rundown of what happened to me.
On February 29, 2016, a broker approached me saying he could deliver a few loads of fill to the farm. I agreed, as long as it would be dumped and levelled on the farm lanes.
On March 7, the dump trucks started coming. On the same day, the police stopped the trucks from entering the farm so they parked along the shoulder of the highway. County officials said the trucks damaged the shoulder. Such “damage” would not have happened if the trucks had been allowed onto the farm.
Almas Construction of Hagersville was hired to take away the shoulder and replace it with new cut stone. This action was totally unnecessary! The County billed me for $65,571, and was added to my taxes on March 18, 2016. Under what by-law was this action taken?
On May 2, the Corporation of Haldimand County passed a Site Alteration By-Law No. 1664/16 regulating the dumping of fill in the County and requiring a permit, along with $2,500. I promptly turned this over to the broker, who on May 6 applied for a permit. The permit number, 001 was issued on May 11 and was revoked on June 14 as a result of more “road damage”.
In the fall of 2016, the County hired Dufferin Construction to fix the pavement, which was no worse than any other part of Highway 54. This was formerly a Provincial highway, not a side road, and was built for all traffic, including trucks and other heavy vehicles.
On December 19, 2016, the County added $60,071.21 to my tax roll, plus another $10,828.75 on February 9, 2017. On March 9, 2017, the total for pavement repairs after the Site Alteration By-Law was $67,917.72, making a grand total of almost $140,000. It forced us to sell our farm to pay these fines.
This cost for road damages, both before and after the Site Alteration permit should never have been my problem. I never hired anyone nor was I paid anything for the dumping of fill. My Insurance Company investigated the situation but could not cover it, as the damages were not on my property.
The County should have charged the broker and the construction companies and/or the dump truck owners. They have full insurance to cover such damages and I am sure that the County would have its own insurance as well. There have been several other incidences like this in the County.
The builders of the new subdivision on McClung Road in Caledonia, as well as the agent who issued their permits, are also liable for they hired the broker and company to dispose of the fill. The County will only deal with property owners, rather than billing those responsible for damages.
Let me ask you this: If you hired someone to do some work on your house or property and he “messed up” on the street in front of your house, would you expect to be charged for the clean-up fee? I think not! If they charged me, (and they did), they will charge you, too!