Council appoints arbitrator to decide right-of-way request

ARICHAT: The executive director of the Eastern District Planning Commission (EDPC) will be asked to mediate a right-of-way request.

During December 19’s Richmond Municipal Council committee-of-the-whole meeting in Arichat, Richmond Chief Administrative Officer Kent MacIntyre told council about a “unique case” where the owner of a land-locked piece of property wants an easement through a neighbouring property to have an access road.

Because provincial legislation mandates that each municipality have a by-law in place to establish the procedure and cost for such issues, MacIntyre asked council whether they want to contact EDPC to investigate the matter and at the same time, start the process of developing a by-law. He said the municipal property manager recommends the same course of action.

District 4 councillor Gilbert Boucher agreed that council should probe the matter and study legislation. He said the request is coming from residents of his district, but his concern is over how the costs will be passed along to the applicants.

“The issue I’m going to have is with the Eastern District Planning Commission and that planning commission has proven to me before that anything that they do, somebody pays through the nose for it, and I don’t appreciate it very much,” Boucher told council.

District 2 councillor Alvin Martell recalled a similar request from his district in the past when council hired the EDPC to settle the matter.

In response to a question from Deputy Warden Brian Marchand about whether the municipality needs a by-law to pass the costs to the applicant, or whether it can be included in their municipal tax bill, MacIntyre said a by-law would detail the process for recovering costs, as well as lay-out the costs.

Boucher reasoned that providing applicants with the costs up front, would allow them to decide if they can afford to proceed.

Council decided to appoint EDPC executive director John Bain to arbitrate the right-of-way request and investigate by-laws in other municipalities before reporting back to council.