By Marianne Curtis
RM of Stuartburn reeve Jim Swidersky denies rumors that a long standing issue between his municipality and the RM of Franklin has been resolved.
Word on the streets in the RM of Stuartburn has been that the municipality won a lawsuit they had launched against the RM of Franklin. Swidersky says that during campaigning residents said they heard the matter was settled.
“As of yesterday (October 29), this is still an ongoing issue and nothing has been resolved,” stated Swidersky. “It is in the hands of our lawyer and we can not talk about it until the matter is settled.”
The lawsuit stems back nearly a decade when the RM of Stuartburn received a $200,000 funding commitment of Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure funds to complete approximately six miles of ditching along the intermunicipal road divided by PR #201. This amount accounted for two-thirds of the project, with $100,000 to come from the two municipalities.
However, when the RM of Franklin was requested to cost share the project at $50,000 they returned with a counter offer of $25,000 and a proposal to add another 2 miles of ditch so that the water can be diverted to the Roseau River. Stuartburn eventually completed the project but without any financial contribution from Franklin. The matter has sense ended up in litigation.
Ironically, the RM of Franklin is suing the RM of De Salaberry over a similar situation, confirmed De Salaberry reeve Ron Musick.
“Yes as far as we still know, the R.M. of Franklin still has an on going litigation against De Salaberry, however the matter seems to have remained dormant for the past several months, so we don’t know the status of the claim,” says Musick.
This matter stemmed from De Salaberry’s filling in a controversial intermunicipal ditch that was allegedly dug without the proper permits and through a protected area back in 2006. A year later the RM of De Salaberry was served with papers by the RM of Franklin for costs associated to that project because Franklin had paid for a portion of that ditch when it was dug.
Both municipalities are hoping that with RM of Franklin’s former reeve Archer Hunter no longer in office both matters will be resolved without further litigation.