Renfrew County will assume responsibility for retaining wall

·3 min read

Pembroke -- The County of Renfrew is acknowledging ownership of the retaining wall outside Calvary Baptist Church in Killaloe, but repairs won’t happen until the spring after consultation is done with the local municipality.

Just how much of the retaining wall belongs to the county is part of the issue, since the county acknowledges the portion fronting Queen Street belongs to the county but asserts the other part of the retaining wall around the corner on Coll Street belongs to Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards (KHR) Township.

“We need to talk,” acknowledged KHR Mayor Janice Tiedje last Wednesday during a ZOOMmeeting of Renfrew County council when the issue was discussed at great length. “My road super said the county is responsible for the whole wall.”

The issue of the retaining wall, which has partially collapsed in recent years, became an issue of ownership and figuring out who was responsible for fixing, replacing or removing the wall. After the county sought legal advice from the Ottawa law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais and received a survey from Adam Kasprazak Surveying it was determined the current wall on County Road 512 (Queen Street) is within the County of Renfrew’s right-of-way. A remaining section of the wall is on Coll Street and the county maintains that part is the responsibility of KHR, according to the county.

On Wednesday there was some discussion about the phrasing of the county resolution to show it was clear there would be additional consultation with KHR.

“There is no direction to staff to undertake work,” clarified CAO Paul Moreau. “It is to have a conversation with Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards on plans and their intent on Coll Street. We have no authority to undertake the work.”

However, Horton Mayor Dave Bennett said he felt the whole structure did belong to the county.

“I still have a little bit of issue with this,” he said. “I understand with what the lawyer put in front of us the County of Renfrew inherited the wall. It is a structure, and it goes from start to finish.”

He said he did not understand how the structure was partially owned by the county and partially by the township.

“How when it hits the intersection of the street do we not own it as a county?” he questioned.

He also said there should be engineering done to see what the impact of removing the wall would be and how this would affect water flow of the hill.

“There has to be more done than going to Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards and saying you have to look after your part,” he said.

Mayor Tiedje said her township is also interested in engineering advice and she would like to have the opportunity for her road supervisor, Dean Holly and the County Director of Public Works and Engineering Lee Perkins to have a discussion.

Admaston/Bromley Mayor Michael Donohue asked if there was any urgency to the project. He was told by county staff there was no urgency to have it completed in the next short while.

“There is no urgency to this,” confirmed Reeve Peter Emon of Renfrew. “This is a 2021 project. It is safe to leave it to the spring.”

Mayor Tiedje said her municipality also understood the work was not occurring soon.

“We are quite aware it is sitting for a little bit,” she said.

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader