The replacement of a stormwater culvert beneath Salt Dock Road is creating a conflict between the Town of Parry Sound and the developers of the Granite Harbour II Condominiums.

As part of their site plan agreement, Greystone Construction agreed to replace the storm culvert at a cost of $32,000 to be shared 50/50 with the town.

During excavation, it was discovered that blasting was required to accommodate the larger culvert.

Staff is recommending the $17,575.72 cost of the blasting be also shared with the town although it goes beyond the initial cost-sharing agreement and the town’s $16,000 ceiling on what it can spend on the project.

At issue is the contaminated soil that was also discovered during construction.

Removal of the soil bearing excessive amounts of boron and sodium was performed at a cost of $75,000.

In its report to Council, staff is recommending that the cost of the soil removal be also shared 50/50 with the developer.

Appearing before Council on Tuesday night, Jon Morton of Greystone Construction said his company believes that they are not responsible for any portion of the cost of the soil removal.

In his deputation, Morton expressed that the town would have had to replace the culvert in five to ten years regardless and would have had to bear the full brunt of replacing both the culvert and removal of the soil.

When asked by Mayor Jamie McGarvey if the company had performed any soil sampling prior to excavation, Morton said they had not.

Town CAO Clayton Harris in his remarks stated that if prior testing had been performed and indicated that blasting was required and that the soil was contaminated, the project wouldn’t have moved forward and an alternative solution found.

Manager of Building and Planning Services Taylor Elgie further demonstrated that the town had no legal obligation to be responsible for any of the cost of removing the bad soil by quoting from the signed site plan agreement which states, “The developer shall be responsible for the repair of any damage including the removal of foreign material on municipally owned lands cause or result of any construction performed by the developer pursuant to the provisions of this  agreement”.

Councillor Doug McCann in his remarks acknowledged the legal obligation of the developer, however, couldn’t support the staff report recommending any cost sharing of the soil removal stating that he was concerned about the ripple effects in what could be seen as penalizing the developer for something nobody knew anything about.

McCann moved that the report go back to staff in the hopes of a negotiated settlement between the Town of Parry Sound and Greystone Construction.

Council approved and staff will report back at the next Council meeting on February 19th.