SCUGOG: Council has decided to support Enbridge Gas Distribution’s application to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to bring natural gas service to Scugog Island.
At a meeting on Monday, June 19th, Councillors voted unanimously to approve recommendations to support the company’s future Leave to Construct application, to the OEB; to provide a rebate on the municipal portion of the property tax, that would be recovered on the newly constructed gas infrastructure, to serve Scugog Island for a period of 10 years; and that the Mayor give the company a letter of support.
“I don’t think I need to spend too much time explaining why we would like to bring natural gas to Scugog Island. The economic and environmental benefits are significant,” Mark Wilson from Enbridge told Councillors.
Mr. Wilson also explained the regulations that have kept Enbridge from bringing natural gas to Scugog Island in the past.
“In 1998, the Ontario Energy Board established a guideline known as E.B.O. 188. It is essentially meant to protect existing ratepayers from the cost of expanding elsewhere,” he said.
He added that these regulations made a place, such as Scugog Island, not financially viable for the company to construct. However, according to a report from Kevin Arsenault, the Township’s Capital Project Technologist, in November of 2016, the OEB approved new guidelines allowing “for new financing mechanisms to extend natural gas service to new communities.”
The report also states, Enbridge’s application will include “a temporary volumetric surcharge to the existing gas rate, which would be applied as an additional line item to the bills of the new customers who connect to the system as part of the project.” This would be for a period of up to 40 years, and is expected to be 23 cents per cubic metre or $550 per year.
Mr. Wilson said the company is proposing, 55 km of pipe would start in Blackstock to bring the service to the island.
Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back questioned if the township would lose any money, if they implement the tax deferral, on the additional property tax for the Scugog Island infrastructure, over the 10 year period.
However, Mr. Wilson explained, the Towsnhip is currently not receiving any property tax from Enbridge infrastructure on Scugog Island, so it is not a loss for the Township.
This was later confirmed by township treasurer Dianne Valentim.
“It’s really not a revenue loss to the Township. The additional assessment would help to spread out the tax base,” she said.