Road Maintenance Agreements
Res #: 26-10A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs
WHEREAS there is an increased demand for gravel in Saskatchewan and haulers are required to enter into Road Maintenance Agreements with municipalities;
WHEREAS municipalities wishing to impose speed restrictions in the agreement must pass a bylaw that applies to all traffic on all roads in its municipality if multiple haul roads are used in order to enforce it; and
WHEREAS municipalities are completely at the mercy of haulers regarding compensation for the amount of gravel hauled;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM request that the Government of Saskatchewan re-evaluate the Road Maintenance Agreement in its entirety – particularly to investigate the possibility of requiring a “performance bond” from the hauler prior to entering into the agreement; and to increase the rates to better reflect the rising costs of road maintenance.
Response from Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Municipal Affairs:
- A committee with representation from government, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Rural Municipal Administrators’ Association (RMAA) and industry stakeholders conducted a review of road maintenance agreements, beginning in 2007.
- The committee recommended changes to the road maintenance agreement template. A new one has been developed and posted on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs website. Comments from all stakeholders were incorporated into the development of this template.
- Recommendations for a new dispute resolution mechanism were also made. This has been included in amendments to The Municipalities Act being considered by the Legislature in the spring 2010 session.
- Deciding how to enforce road maintenance agreements is a matter between the RM and the hauler. Legislation currently allows for RMs to enter into the agreements at council’s discretion and to decide what constitutes a haul “of significant nature”. In doing so, the responsibility for policing the agreements belongs with the RM.
- Negotiations between the hauler and the municipality should include an adequate reporting mechanism. The agreement template does not refer to performance bonds, but the template can be altered. Municipal Affairs will add a paragraph to the new template agreement that RMs may use. However, haulers have the right to appeal such a clause in the agreement and may do so through the new dispute resolution mechanism.
- Consultations with the Ministry of Justice indicate municipalities have the authority to request a performance bond from haulers, if it is negotiated and included in the road maintenance agreement. It is the responsibility of the municipality to negotiate any performance bond with the hauler.
- Road maintenance agreement rates are still under consideration. RMs are being asked to provide additional information and participate in a pilot project to better document road impacts and costs.