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Years long battle with the Town goes public over well flow onto private property

Posted June 24, 2014

Good fences make good neighbours, but a 20 year-old municipal well developed to service west end Alliston land then owned by former mayor George McCague, continues to pour water onto the neighbouring property owned by Frank and Christine Parulski, which is the subject of litigation.

Mr. Parulski spoke to councillors last night, the first time the matter has been made public, asking for immediate action to stop the flow from the artesian spring that was released when Well 7 (Dyll Well), located across from the Alliston Christian Community School, was developed.

The Dyll Well was a component of a water supply upgrade in the early 1990s in Alliston that also included the one million gallon water tower, which was built in haste on site of the previous Alliston storage tank next to Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH). Its location allowed the Town to bypass the Environmental Assessment process, as a fast-track plan. The water tower construction triggered a battle with five Morrow Drive neighbours - including Ken Pratt whose near weekly visits to council chambers were rife with stories of falling debris into their yards.

In the end, the Town ended up spending over $1 million to purchase the five properties, without insurance which refused to cover the costs, and then sold them at a loss, including riders in the deeds that warned about using the backyards. That episode cost the Town higher insurance premiums as a result.

At the time, the Dyll Well, and its estimated 300 galloons of water output per minute, was the only ground water supply Alliston could tap into which serviced the McCague properties, that among them were sold to the public school board to construct Ernest Cumberland School. The school board had to put the building on deep pilings as stabilization because the land was swampy. The remaining parcels were sold to Vito Rizzardo and Previn Court Homes, who then front-ended funding for the well and water tower construction. In exchange, the Rizzardo's received credits on development charges, which were locked in, including their development going on today in the west end, costing the DC accounts millions of dollars in foregone revenue as a result.

For the Parulski's, they were supposed to receive municipal treated water as compensation for the neighbouring well and access, but he said last night that the Town gradually stopped not only abiding by those terms, but allegedly allowing unchlorinated water to flow through, and not swabbing and flushing the pipeline since 2002, pushing rust through. He said they were going to file complaints with the Ministry of Health.

"So, I may sound very upset, and I am very upset, as nobody seems to want to do anything here. I've gone and I've asked, and begged and pleaded to get things done, and basically I've been turned around and I'm the problem causer in this township," he said. "I am asking council that if we can sit down or somebody sit down with us, and truthfully tell us that this has been totally stopped and there will be no more flow of water out of that well onto our property, that I will be told when there is no chlorine in the water. ... All I want to do is correct it, and know what's going on."

Mayor Mike MacEachern said that from Town staff's perspective, "we're still in litigation, is it your understanding that it's still in process?"

"All I'm asking you is to stop this water flow," replied Mr. Parulski. "I am litigating for the water on my property. We can sit down and discuss stopping litigation if you want, I have no problem with that."

The mayor answered, "Far as I understood, the instructions that we received were from the insurance company's lawyer that's representing the Town and as far as I understand, we're not to discuss this matter because it is ongoing litigation. There are lawyers involved. I'm just wondering if Frank's lawyer thought this was a good idea for you to come and make this presentation."

"I made it myself, because like I said, I was totally fed up with what's going on with you dumping the water on my property," he said. "This litigation could go on for eight or 10 more years, I want this issue of you dumping the water on my property ended as of today, which is separate from the litigation that you have flooded my property, and how much is it worth, the damage at that point."

Town CAO Terri Caron confirmed the lawsuit is moving to the discovery stage, and that council could be updated in camera.

"To me, our hands our tied," added Ward 1 councillor Bob Marrs, "we can't do anything until the litigation is resolved," which prompted Mr. Parulski to note that "The chlorinated water and rust in our water is not part of litigation, we'd like to have that problem corrected."

"I've never been briefed on this," added Ward 7 councillor Bruce Haire, "and probably several others haven't been briefed either."

"The Ministry of Health will be knocking on your door," concluded Mr. Parulski.

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