Cross Border Servicing Agreement Progress

Updated

Morris-Turnberry Council is currently in negotiations with North Huron for an agreement to provide water and sanitary sewer service to residents of Morris-Turnberry. A summary of the process to date can be found below, and further updates will be published as they become available. Links to recorded meetings are provided where available. 

Morris-Turnberry users currently represent 19 of the total 1559 connections to the Wingham Water System (1.2%). With the infrastructure currently in place, 14 more properties could potentially connect, bringing the total to 33 properties (2.1%). Morris-Turnberry’s goal is to reach an agreement through which users of the system provide fair compensation to North Huron for the services received.

April 21, 2022 to Present - Morris-Turnberry staff are currently conducting a thorough review of the agreement and will present a report to Council at a future meeting.

April 21, 2022 – Mr. Evans hand delivered correspondence and a signed copy of the agreement that had been passed by North Huron Council to Mr. Hallam at an unrelated meeting both were attending.

April 14, 2022 – Mr. Evans emailed Mr. Hallam to inquire if he had any knowledge of development plans for the Willis lands. Mr. Hallam responded that there were no active applications and no applications in pre-consultation.

March 30, 2022 - Mr. Hallam emailed Mr. Evans to ask if there were any updates on the agreement. Mr. Evans responded that there were no updates.

March 8, 2022 – Mr. Hallam emailed Mr. Evans to ask if there had been a discussion regarding the agreement with Council. Mr. Evans responded indicating direction had been received and that he would notify Mr. Hallam if anything was needed.

February 9, 2022 - Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met electronically to discuss the draft agreement. Mr. Hallam reiterated the position of Morris-Turnberry Council from the September 27th correspondence.

December 21, 2021 -  Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met electronically to discuss the draft agreement. Mr. Hallam reiterated the position of Morris-Turnberry Council from the September 27th correspondence.

December 15, 2021 – Mr. Evans emailed Mr. Hallam requesting an update on the progress of discussions with Council regarding the potential solutions identified previously. Mr. Hallam responded to say that he had reached out but Mr. Evans was on vacation, and proposed a video call to review the agreement.

November 17, 2021 – Mr. Hallam met with Archie MacGowan at the Braemar Retirement Centre (MacGowan’s) to discuss North Huron’s request regarding the existing agreement between North Huron, and the draft of the cross border servicing agreement currently under discussion.

October 19, 2021 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the Morris-Turnberry Municipal Office to discuss the draft agreement.

September 27, 2021 - Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence outlining 5 remaining issues with the agreement, as requested, being; Capacity for the Willis lands being guaranteed and paid for under an existing agreement; MacGowan’s Nursing Home (Braemar) being serviced under an existing agreement between North Huron and the owner, which Morris-Turnberry does not have the authority to circumvent, nor does it have the authority to compel MacGowan’s to connect if their water source fails, and that MacGowan’s should be consulted by North Huron if they wish to change the agreement between the two parties; the rate for excessive use be reverted to 3 as it was when presented to the committee; that North Huron’s dispute resolution clause is accepted provided that it its amended to stipulate that costs are borne equally by both parties rather than only being borne by the disputing party; maintaining the request that the $50,000 amendment penalty, if received by either party, be put towards the system.

September 16, 2021 – Correspondence received in response to September 2 correspondence. It stated that North Huron council believed significant progress had been made and expected an agreement to be ratified shortly. It expressed disappointment that there was more than one issue left to resolve. It requested a complete list of all outstanding matters.

September 2, 2021 - Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence requesting that the ongoing and productive discussions focus on resolving the issue of the Willis Lands before addressing the other remaining issues. It stated that North Huron was given 110 acres of developable land in 2005, and that as per the agreement in place North Huron has an ongoing obligation to reserve adequate sewage and water capacity for the Willis lands remaining in Morris-Turnberry, and that the legal consideration, that is payment, for that obligation is the adjustment of the border and the other obligations assumed by Morris-Turnberry in that Compensation Agreement. Due to the existing ongoing obligation, Morris-Turnberry will not agree to including a capacity number for those lands in the terms of the agreement currently being drafted. It was proposed that no capacity be assigned in Clause 1, but that when the property is developed the required capacity be brought into Clause 1 in an amendment exempt from the $50,000.00 penalty.

July 30, 2021 – Correspondence received in response to July 15th correspondence accepting 4 of the 9 proposed amendments. Regarding MacGowan’s (Braemar) it requested that a clause be included stating that should MacGowan’s private water source fail, they would be required to connect, and that the capacity for the property be included in Clause 1. Regarding the Willis Lands, it requested that a capacity allocation be estimated for the property and included in Clause 1. Regarding clarifying the connection and capital costs for the connection of Morris-Turnberry properties, the addition of an appendix to the agreement was refused. Regarding returning the penalty rate for overage from 5 back to 3, it was left open for discussion depending on the outcome of discussions regarding the Willis Lands. Regarding the request for a more standard dispute resolution clause, it was stated that North Huron did not wish to relinquish their decision making authority by making arbitration part of the agreement. Regarding the penalty fee, it maintained th3 $50,000.00 penalty and did not agree to stipulate that the funds be spent on the system, but clarified that if an amendment was not possible or granted the penalty fee would be returned.

July 30, 2021 - Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met electronically to discuss the draft agreement.

July 15, 2021 – Correspondence issued accepting the majority of the agreement with 9 proposed amendments from Morris-Turnberry Council’s to the July 3rd draft for consideration. Details of proposed amendments to various clauses provided. Amendments focused on substantive issues only. Regarding the inclusion of MacGowan’s Nursing Home (Braemar) it was requested that the existing agreement between North Huron and MacGowan’s be honoured and that it be excluded from this agreement. Regarding the Willis Lands, it stated that capacity for the property was guaranteed in 2005 as payment for the annexation of 110 acres of land to North Huron, and that the 2005 agreement be honoured and that Morris-Turnbery should not be required to pay again to reserve capacity for that property. Regarding the Hutton Heights extension, it stated that Morris-Turnberry accepted the intent of the clause and requested that an appendix be added to the agreement that describes and identifies the lands that are considered as potentially serviceable, as well as formulae or percentages that can be used to determine connection costs per acre in the future for the sake of clarity. Regarding the rate for excessive use, it noted that previous drafts had set the rate at 3 times the standard rate, but it had been increased to 5. It requested that the rate be returned to 3 as previously agreed upon. Regarding the dispute resolution clause, it requested that a more traditional clause be used, as that in the Belgrave Water System agreement, which would employ the Arbitration Act. Regarding the term, it accepted the 20 year term and requested that the effective date be the date of signing with anniversary dates being established as December 31st or another set date, rather than backdating the agreement. Regarding the $50,000.00 penalty for amending clause 1, it proposed a fee of $1000.00 per cubic meter with a minimum of $10,000.00 and a maximum of $50,000.00 for amendment, and that it be stipulated that the funds would be put towards the system.

July 15, 2021 - Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met electronically to review the agreement. At the request of Mr. Evans the focus remained on the substance of the agreement, with administrative and drafting corrections and amendments to be set aside to be dealt with closer to finalization.

July 12, 2021 – Mr. Hallam emailed Mr. Evans informing him that Council had held a special meeting to consider the agreement on July 8th and requested a meeting to discuss the result.

June 23, 2021 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met electronically to review questions and amendments to the agreement from Mr. Hallam.

June 16, 2021 to June 18, 2021 – Mr. Hallam emailed Mr. Evans with clarifying questions. Mr. Evans provided responses.

June 3, 2021 – Correspondence received following a special meeting of North Huron Council that presented a revised draft of the cross border agreement for review and consideration.

June 1, 2021 - Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met electronically to discuss new proposals from North Huron for the agreement.

May 14, 2021 – Mr. Hallam responded stating that Morris-Turnberry looks forward to reaching an agreement that fairly compensates North Huron for the water and sanitary sewer services used by Morris-Turnberry residents.

May 12, 2021 – Email received from Mr. Evans indicating that North Huron remains committed to reaching an agreement and advancing the initial draft with revisions. Confirmation was requested that Morris-Turnberry still wants to work towards an agreement.

May 4, 2021 – Email received from MR. Evans stating that the agreement was not discussed by North Huron Council, but that a special meeting was proposer for later in the week.

April 9, 2021 - Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence accepting the proposal of an all day meeting. It proposed the use of a third party chair to ensure the meeting is focused and productive. Four individuals were proposed as candidates, and suggestions were invited from North Huron if those suggested were not acceptable.

March 18, 2021 – Correspondence was received in response to the November 10th correspondence. The letter reviewed North Huron’s grievances regarding: Morris-Turnberry’s wish to amend the agreement for Chief Building Official Services; the adjustment of the amounts provided by Morris-Turnberry in 2020; the claim that Morris-Turnberry may have voided the expired agreement by adjusting the amounts; that North Huron makes significant investment in economic development in the region; that North Huron staff have been receiving complaints regarding the costs of services from Morris-Turnberry residents; that Morris-Turnberry users have collectively been using 35 to 40 cubic meters of water a day*; and that certain industrial lots are for sale within the boundaries of Morris-Turnberry and its is unknown how they will be serviced. The invited Morris-Turnberry to attend an all day meeting of the Cross Border Committee with the goal of reaching a draft agreement by the end of the day.


*(Capacity numbers quoted had been calculated incorrectly. 35-40 cubic meters of water use per user was for a bi-monthly period, averaging out to approximately 0.6 cubic meters of water per day. The error was later acknowledged by Mr. Evans in an email after the source of the figures had been questioned by Mr. Hallam.)

December 11, 2020 – Correspondence was received expressing North Huron Councils discontent with the prorating of amounts in the former agreement. It reiterated that proposals for a cross border agreement have been issued by North Huron and refused by Morris-Turnberry.

November 19, 2020 - Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence in response to the October 28th correspondence stating that Morris-Turnberry will honour the payment of the amounts in Schedule F, with adjustments based on the amount of time facilities were closed and not available to Morris-Turnberry residents due to COVID-19, resulting in a payment of $83,729.00 to North Huron. It was requested that North Huron follow the grant and donation policy to request funds in future years.

November 10, 2020 - Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence stating that the two sides are closer in positions than has been acknowledged for some time, the only points of disagreement at this point being North Huron's proposed 60 cubic meters of capacity where Morris-Turnberry's request is for 45 cubic meters, and North Huron's request for a boundary adjustment to include 775 acres of Morris-Turnberry lands in North Huron, while Morris-Turnberry holds their position that the agreement should be based on establishing a user pay compensation arrangement for water and sewer services only. Mr. Hallam proposed that he and Mr. Evans meet to revisit the draft agreement as staff as directed by the committee initially, to see if any progress could be made. No meeting was granted.

October 28, 2020 – Correspondence received stating that that North Huron is not a community group and is not undertaking an initiative, and that through an agreement (the expired Cross Border Agreement) Morris-Turnberry provides funds in return for services. It went on to state that there had been a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to honour the terms of the agreement until a new agreement is reached, and asked when North Huron would be receiving the funds outlined in Schedule F.

October 21, 2020- Correspondence was received stating that North Huron Council would not allow the physical connection to the Green's temporary office. Mr. Evans reiterated North Huron's request for a boundary adjustment to include the lands south of Highway 86 from Highway 4 to the easterly property line of the airport in the Township of North Huron.

October 8, 2020 - Following a meeting with representatives from Green's Meat Market and at their request, Mr. Hallam issued a new request under the direction of Council for a connection at the site of the Green's temporary office. Green's had offered the solution of allowing the physical connection of the water line in an already exposed excavation while maintaining the curb stop in the off position. This compromise would allow Greens to backfill the excavation without having to excavate a second time later, while respecting the will of North Huron council to not allow new connections to the system.

September 23, 2020 - Mr. Evans responded by email, stating that North Huron Council had taken the position that there would be no new hook ups until the agreement was finalized. It stated that North Huron recognized the economic benefit to the region by having an agreement in place, and that Morris-Turnberry wishes to benefit  but not share the cost proportionately, and North Huron is seeking fair return on its initial and future investments. It went on to say that Morris-Turnberry has reaped benefits of increased taxation from connected properties with little financial responsibility and liability, and had established that it was not open to sharing the tax benefit, and had stated it was not financially prudent to pay to have capacity available in the future. Mr. Evans stated that North Huron had presented several offers designed to have Morris-Turnberry bearing responsibility for its future growth, and they had been criticized without compromise being offered. It claimed that North Huron residents are bearing all financial responsibility for development of boundary properties in Morris-Turnberry. It then stated that North Huron had expressed interest in acquiring lands on the south side of Highway 86 from Highway for to the airport in exchange for agreeing to sign the agreement with 30 cubic meters of capacity, but Morris-Turnberry had not accepted the offer. Mr. Evans stated that he did not see the value in meeting without new or additional information, but that North Huron was starting its budget process, and could Mr. Hallam please advise if Morris-Turnberry intends to maintain financial contributions towards other services.

September 22, 2020 - Mr. Hallam emailed Mr. Evans to propose a CAO meeting to discuss how to move the agreement forward.

August 18, 2020 – Mr. Hallam followed up with Mr. Evans to inquire if there was a response that could be shared with Council during their meeting that evening. Mr. Evans responded stating that Morris-Turnberry’s latest offer had not been accepted. No further comments were provided. Mr. Hallam responded asking how he and Mr. Evans could move the agreement forward. Mr. Evans responded stating that that was a discussion for Morris-Turnberry Council.

August 4, 2020 - Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence stating that Morris-Turnberry did not wish to termination negotiations, only to expedite the process though engaging an outside mediator. It highlighted that the difference in positions of the two municipalities was ideological, not technical, as North Huron is asking to expand the scope of the agreement beyond fair compensation for water and sanitary sewer services. Council increased the capacity request from 30 to 45 in light of North Huron’s concerns. The offer was made to finalize the agreement with 45 cubic meters and have the agreement considered by the Committee in January, and the request was made that North Huron reconsider its position regarding alternative methods of resolution if that is not acceptable.

July 13, 2020 – Correspondence was received stating that North Huron felt its last offer (June 3) was fair. It expressed dismay at Morris-Turnberry’s wish to “terminate the negotiation process in favour of lawyers”. It stated that North Huron respects Morris-Turnberry’s decision to terminate the negotiation process, and will continue existing services and defer new connections until an agreement is reached.

July 8, 2020 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence stating that as no response had been received to its request for North Huron to express their preference for the means of resolution presented in the June 15th and June 30th correspondence, Morris-Turnberry’s preference is for legal counsel representing each party to be put in contact with each other to work toward reaching agreeable terms. The name of the representative North Huron would like to use was requested.

July 7, 2020 – Correspondence was received informing Morris-Turnberry that North Huron Council had received and filed the Green’s connection request at their July 6th meeting. The connection was not approved. (See the video here)

July 2, 2020 - Mr. Hallam issued correspondence to North Huron requesting a connection for Green’s. It asked for understanding in light of the Green’s catastrophic loss and change of circumstance.

July 2, 2020 – Correspondence was received stating that North Huron had received a request for a connection for water from the Green family. It stated that Morris-Turnberry had not listed Green’s in their May 28th correspondence. It reiterated that Council had passed a motion deferring new hook ups until an agreement was signed, and as there is no agreement staff must seek Council’s approval for the connection. A written connection request from Morris-Turnberry was requested.

June 30, 2020 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence that provided an explanation of where the responses to the two proposals could be found in previous correspondence and reiterated those responses. The original letters were included for reference. It reiterated that Morris-Turnberry felt that the two parties seemed to only be in disagreement over the amount of capacity required, and the scope and means of compensation, and asked again that North Huron express its preference for one of the suggested avenues for resolution presented in the June 15th letter.

June 18, 2020 – Correspondence was received stating that North Huron had put forward two proposals, but that Morris-Turnberry had not shared the reasons for their refusal. An explanation was requested. 

June 15, 2020 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence stating that Morris-Turnberry remains focused on an agreement that compensates North Huron fairly for water and sanitary sewer services. It explained that Morris-Turnberry had lost faith in the negotiation process, and that while the bulk of the agreement had been drafted, the two parties seemed to only be in disagreement over the amount of capacity required, and the scope and means of compensation. Morris-Turnberry presented 5 options for resolution ranging from mediation to arbitration in different forms, and asked North Huron to consider the proposal and express their preference for a method of resolution so the agreement could be finalized.

June 3, 2020 – Correspondence was received stating that there is little to no benefit to North Huron ratepayers to signing the agreement as it is currently written. It explained that North Huron was holding capacity for Morris-Turnberry lands with no compensation. It listed other items in North Huron’s budget which were a benefit to Morris-Turnberry, including daycare, cemetery, arenas, greenspaces, parks, playgrounds and trails. The proposed border adjustment (Morris-Turnberry lands on the south side of Highway 86 from Highway 4  to the east property line of the Wingham Airport, and south along that extent to the Maitland River) was reoffered as a preference for compensating North Huron for these services, and the proposed capacity number was reduced from 160 to 60. North Huron expressed a willingness to surrender the previous agreement’s Schedule F which listed compensation for some of these services. Also noted was that there needed to be a publicly identifiable benefit to North Huron through signing the agreement.

May 28, 2020 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence stating that Morris-Turnberry respectfully declined the proposal put forward by North Huron as it was grossly disproportionate to the amount of service provided. Morris-Turnberry’s capacity needs were reiterated, and errors and inaccurate assumptions in the detailed explanation of North Huron’s 160 cubic meter calculation were explained. Morris-Turnberry provided  detailed information regarding how the 30 cubic meters was arrived at, including a spreadsheet listing all properties and their capacity needs, and signed letters confirming capacity request from landowners for whom there was a notable change in capacity requirements from the previous agreement. Morris-Turnberry’s willingness to sign the agreement presented in January with the capacity numbers provided in March was reiterated.

May 14, 2020 – Correspondence was received providing an explanation of how the proposed capacity number of 160 cubic meters was arrived at. It referenced North Huron’s recently adopted strategic plan that focuses on economic development. The letter detailed a proposal for a border adjustment that would see the Morris-Turnberry lands on the south side of Highway 86 from Highway 4  to the east property line of the Wingham Airport, and south along that extent to the Maitland River, become part of North Huron, as had been done with the 110 acres that were given to North Huron my Morris-Turnberry in 2005 which provided the land for the current A2A development (Maitland Estates). The proposal stated that in exchange for this land North Huron would be willing to sign the agreement with Morris-Turnberry’s requested 30 meters of capacity. It was requested that Morris-Turnberry Council discuss the proposal at their next meeting.

April 29, 2020 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence again providing Morris-Turnberry’s position regarding capacity and the previous acceptance of the agreement by the Committee. It stated that Morris-Turnberry had been waiting to receive new proposals from North Huron regarding the tax sharing or land exchange suggested by North Huron at the March meeting. Morris-Turnberry’s willingness to sign the agreement presented in March with the provided capacity numbers was reiterated.

April 27, 2020 – Correspondence was received stating that North Huron has been in contact with the business community and understands the economic consequences, however Council stands by its previous decision to not allow any connections until an agreement is signed. North Huron reiterated its desire to explore tax sharing, land exchanges or other financial arrangements, and that it awaits offers from Morris-Turnberry in that regard.

April 23, 2020 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence to North Huron asking that they reconsider their decision not to allow J.E. Hodgins Lumber Ltd to connect their new building to services. Emphasis was put on the business’ crucial role in the supply chain of the local economy of both municipalities, and the importance of their business in getting development and employment back on track during COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

March 17, 2020 – Mr. Hallam received an email from Mr. Evans with notification that North Huron had passed a motion to suspend all Committee and Board meetings until April 5th or further notice.

March 12, 2020 - The Cross Border Agreement Committee met. Morris-Turnberry presented proposed capacity numbers of 30 cubic meters each of water and sanitary sewer. North Huron  moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion to adjourn failed, and Morris-Turnberry proceeded to provide a detailed explanation of how the numbers were reached and explained why the proposal of 160 cubic meters was in excess of the municipality's needs. As the structure of the agreement would have Morris-Turnberry users pay for assigned capacity as if for use, careful calculation was required. Morris-Turnberry members expressed a willingness to sign the agreement that the committee had reviewed on January 16th with the inclusion of the 30 cubic meter capacity number. The numbers were not accepted, and North Huron members indicated that the compensation terms in the draft agreement were not sufficient. Morris-Turnberry members asked for clarification regarding what would be required in terms of compensation, noting that the agreement was acceptable until the capacity numbers were presented. Clarification was requested regarding what threshold had not been met. North Huron suggested that other ideas for compensation be considered, including tax sharing or the exchange of land. North Huron Council was to discuss additional compensation and convey those ideas to Morris-Turnberry. Morris-Turnberry members did not view it as their role to produce such offers of this nature for the consideration of North Huron. (See the video here)

February 26, 2020 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence to Mr. Evans explaining that the proposal in his last email was in contradiction with what the committee had agreed upon at the January 16th meeting, and that Morris-Turnberry was working diligently to produce accurate and reliable capacity numbers and ensure the fairness of the agreement to users.

February 21, 2020 – Mr. Hallam received an email from Mr. Evans acknowledging the updated draft sent on February 3 and expressing frustration at the amount of time Morris-Turnberry was taking to produce capacity numbers. The email contained a proposal to include 160 cubic meters of capacity in the agreement, extend the term of the agreement from 10 years to 20 years, remove the option of amendment to the capacity number by either party by mutual agreement for the first 10 years of the extended term, and backdate the agreement to January 1, 2020. Mr. Evans requested a meeting of the Committee on March 5th.

February 6, 2020 – Correspondence was received indicating that the servicing request for J.E. Hodgins Lumber Ltd that had been made on December 6th was considered by North Huron Council at their February 3rd meeting. North Huron Council passed a motion at that meeting deferring any further connections until an agreement was signed with Morris-Turnberry. (See video here)

February 3, 2020 – Mr. Hallam provided Mr. Evans with an updated draft including the changes agreed to at their January 29th meeting.

January 29, 2020 through March 12, 2020 – Using the draft capacity numbers that were reviewed by B.M. Ross and Associates, Mr. Hallam began meeting personally with landowners for whom a change to capacity was recommended by his calculations. This included increases, decreases, and connections that were not in previous agreements. Mr. Hallam presented landowners with two years of data regarding their metered water use (where available), and projected cost estimates based on the structure of the draft agreement and changes to North Huron’s water rates. It was explained that the term of the agreement would be 10 years, and that no guarantee could be given that any changes could be made during that time. Landowners were given the final say in how much capacity was reserved for their property, as the agreement would have them pay for capacity whether it is being used or not. This was determined by Council to be a financial decision that should be made by landowners, not one imposed by the Municipality. The numbers we not finalized and made public until the March 12th meeting of the Committee.

January 29, 2020 - Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the Morris-Turnberry Municipal Office to discuss the issues raised by Mayor Heffer at the committee meeting. Compromise was reached on all but one of the items, being the inclusion of the former Willis lands. While servicing for those lands was guaranteed under an annexation compensation agreement in 2005, North Huron requested to include them in this agreement.

January 16, 2020 – The Cross Border Agreement Committee met and received a joint presentation from Dwayne Evans and Trevor Hallam on the agreement they had drafted together over a series of meetings over the previous months. Mayor Heffer raised some concerns regarding certain clauses. North Huron members raised no concerns regarding the draft agreement but insisted that Morris-Turnberry produce capacity numbers to complete the agreement, and that the committee meet again once those were ready. No proposed capacity numbers were prepared for the meeting, as the structure of the agreement would determine how those numbers were calculated. (See video here)

January 10, 2020 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the North Huron Municipal Office to work on the draft agreement and the upcoming presentation of the draft to the Committee.

December 20, 2019 – Mr. Hallam met with engineers from BM Ross and Associates regarding draft capacity numbers that he had been formulating for the new draft agreement.

December 10, 2019 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the North Huron Municipal Office to work on the draft agreement.

December 6, 2019 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence to North Huron confirming the request for a connection for J.E. Hodgins Lumber Ltd. This property is already connected and has been for many years, and the request was for a second connection to service their new building.

December 2, 2019 – Mr. Hallam received correspondence stating that North Huron had received a request for a connection from J.E. Hodgins Lumber Ltd for their new building. North Huron stated that with the consent of Council the connection could be permitted under the previous agreement’s terms. An official request would be required from Morris-Turnberry.

October 30, 2019 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the Morris-Turnberry Municipal Office to work on the draft agreement.

October 17, 2019 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the North Huron Municipal Office to work on the draft agreement.

October 3, 2019 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the Morris-Turnberry Municipal Office to work on the draft agreement.

October 2, 2019 – Mr. Hallam and Mr. Evans met at the North Huron Municipal Office to work on the draft agreement. The clear message was given that Morris-Turnberry should have to pay for capacity or surrender it back to North Huron.

September 5, 2019 – The Cross Border Agreement Committee consisting of Mayor Heffer, Deputy Mayor Zinn, Councillor Nelemans, Reeve Bailey, Deputy Reeve Seip and Councillor van Hittersum met. Options for moving forward with the negotiations were discussed and direction was given to staff to formulate the substance of the agreement in draft form which would then be brought back to the committee for consideration, following which the final agreement could be ratified by both Councils. Morris-Turnberry emphasized its wish to negotiate an agreement that focused on fair compensation for water and sanitary sewer services only. (See video here)

August 14, 2019 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence to North Huron indicating which members of Council had been appointed to the Committee. Copies of the Belgrave Cross Border Servicing agreement through which Morris-Turnberry provides water to North Huron properties, and an agreement with Huron East providing sanitary sewer services to Morris-Turnberry were provided as examples of agreements that have served both parties well. Mr. Hallam requested that any such example agreements North Huron would like to put forward for consideration be provided in advance of the meeting. Mr. Hallam proposed Augusts 15th and 16th as potential meeting dates.

August 2, 2019 – Mr. Hallam received correspondence from North Huron reiterating the position that the agreement will end on September 1st, as well as the preference for a committee structure. No proposed amendments were provided, and a preference for an entirely new agreement was expressed.

July 22, 2019 – Following consultation with Council, Mr. Hallam issued correspondence to North Huron stating that Morris-Turnberry would seek no substantial amendments to the agreement, and asked North Huron to provide proposed amendments in writing, following which a response would be issued by Council.

July 11, 2019 – CAO/Clerk Trevor Hallam received correspondence from North Huron indicating that the agreement for Cross Border Servicing that was signed in May of 2017 and amended in November of 2018 had come to an end as neither party had given notice of its wish to continue under that agreement. It indicated a desire to negotiate a new agreement and provided the names of members of Council who had been appointed to a Committee that North Huron had struck for the purpose. Morris-Turnberry was instructed to similarly appoint members to the committee.


The termination clause in question reads as follows:


This Agreement will come into effect on the date that it is signed by the last of the parties and shall terminate on September 1, 2019 unless either party provides notice in writing to the contrary at last (*spelling error copied directly from agreement*) one ( 1) year in advance of the first or any subsequent termination date, the agreement will be automatically renewed for successive periods of five (5) years.


The wording of the clause allowed for differing interpretations regarding its intent, and whether the agreement automatically renewed or if notice was required for it to continue to be in effect. Following consultation with the municipality’s solicitor, it was decided that entering into negotiations would be more prudent and collegial than arguing the interpretation and seeking a legal ruling on the matter.