Haldimand County will be receiving a hefty settlement from Samsung Renewable Energy for road repairs in the county.
“We’re settling out the road use agreements for (Samsung’s) wind project and transmission lines,” Tyson Haedrich, Haldimand’s director of engineering services, said to councillors on May 5.
Staff said the company has agreed to cut the county a cheque for $3.3 million. This is on top of the $500,000 that Samsung already gave the county for road repairs last fall.
The settlement comes after Samsung finished building 67 wind turbines in the South Cayuga area, as well as installed 111 poles along Haldimand Road 20.
Last fall, the company began restoring the roads it damaged during those projects, but the work wasn’t done fast enough for staff.
“They were doing the road restoration work, and as council remembered, the work was going slowly,” Haedrich said.
With Samsung footing the entire bill, county staff and the company agreed to share the task of repairing the roads, and Samsung gave Haldimand $500,000 to get started.
“As the repair work progressed, it became apparent that the roads to be repaired by the county had continued to deteriorate and were in worse condition than originally estimated,” Kris Franklin, project manager for green energy infrastructure, wrote in his report to council.
The county ended up spending about $2.3 million more to finish the work before the winter, and staff kept a detailed log of the extra work they did to make sure Samsung would reimburse them.
“We not only catalogued the damage that was done last year, but also the work that is needed this year,” Haedrich said. “They have agreed to pay for all of that.”
Staff said the company will pay a total of $3.8 million, which is good news for the county after staff had a rough go last year getting Samsung to deal with daily dust control during construction.
The county even went as far as suspending Samsung last June for failing to comply with the county’s road use agreement.
The $3.8 million settlement is enough to reimburse the county for the work it paid out of pocket last year, as well as leave about $1 million for the rest of the road repairs this year.
“Staff is confident that the estimated cost of $1,037,400 to complete the 2015 road repair work is sufficient,” Franklin wrote in his report.
Anything left over from the $1 million would go into a reserve to address any green energy-related road repairs that might come up in the next 18 months.
After that time, the capital project would close, but councillors questioned what would happen after the 18 months are up.
“Two years down the road, I would hate to see some of these roads come back that would need repairs,” Coun. Leroy Bartlett said. “How do we make sure that Haldimand County taxpayers are not on the hook for any additional road repairs that may be needed?”
But staff assured that the roads would be repaired in the same condition as before or better, and the roads should last as long as they can avoid heavy truck traffic again.
On top of repairing the roads damaged from Samsung’s green energy project, the county will also be pitching in $233,000 to piggyback on the road repairs and enhance the work.
The county will spend $163,000 to do granular road conversion on the rest of Haldimand Tract and Kings Row, and it will use $70,000 from Ward 5’s share of the Community Vibrancy Fund to surface treat Haldimand Road 49 from Rainham Road to Lakeshore Road.
Haldimand County entered into a road use agreement with all of the green energy companies with major projects in the county. The agreement forces the companies to maintain and repair county roads it damages during construction.
“If we didn’t have a road use agreement in place then taxpayers of Haldimand County would be on the hook for $3 million to repair these roads,” Bartlett said.
The county has three road use agreements with Samsung for its wind, solar and transmission line projects.
Samsung Renewable Energy is still working on its solar project, which would see about 425,000 solar panels installed in the county.
Once that project is finished, the road use agreement for Samsung’s solar project will cover sections of Sutor Road, Meadows Road, Mount Olivet Road and Wilson Road.