While sympathetic to the plight homeowners on private roads in West Nipissing face with damaged roads because of flooding, the municipality says there’s little it can do directly to help.
But it can become involved indirectly.
A resident of one of these roads asked the municipality if they could tap into its purchasing power and thereby get a financial break on the materials needed to fix the roads in question.
The resident indicated there would be no cost to the municipality because homeowners would repay town hall.
Councillor Jeremy Seguin had serious concerns with the request.
Seguin says while he liked the concept, it’s not something the municipality should become involved with because it would take money away from contractors over what they would normally charge homeowners.
Seguin says he’s not unsympathetic to the plight of homeowners caught in this spot but he adds people who buy on private roads know what they’re getting into.
He was concerned that by taking the resident up on the suggestion, millions of dollars would be taken out of the local economy because contractors would be paid less for their work.
Councillor Yvon Duhaime agreed with Seguin.
However, Roland Larabie had a different opinion.
Larabie said this was an emergency and the residents needed help.
He said the municipality has the purchasing power to help in this instance.
Mayor Joanne Savage also agreed council should step in and help as did councillor Dan Roveda.
However, CAO Jay Barbeau expressed a concern if the municipality used its purchasing power to get homeowners a discount.
Barbeau believed there was an ethics question at stake here.
His suggestion, which was not opposed, was to put a notice on the town’s Facebook page explaining what residents in this group face and then once contractors were aware of the situation it was up to them in a spirit of cooperation if they chose to do anything.
Barbeau said this way the municipality doesn’t put itself in a position where it’s negotiating with businesses on behalf of homeowners.