Monday, November 26, 2012


The Orangeville Mayor is lamenting the death of the Mega Quarry proposal, because of course he had a cushy deal with them.  Highlands paid Orangeville (you know that municipality that holds most of the votes in the County with the weighted vote system) $500,000 a year on some convoluted deal with Orangeville’s rail lands. 

NOW Adams is whining the $500,000 has to come out of Orangeville taxpayers pockets.

The fact is Orangeville is in the rail mess because of Adams and MP David Tilson agrees:

"Mr. Tilson also expressed little sympathy for Mayor Adams, recalling that it was the same mayor and his council that went after Mr. Tilson, an MPP at the time, for not supporting Orangeville in its bid to buy the railway approximately 11 years ago.

“They were so upset. So I got them $2 million, no strings attached, Now, years later, they want to sell it and I’ve never heard a good reason why.”

So here is a repost of some of the July 22, 2011 post on this blog to remind people what transpired:

To follow this little saga I am providing a cast of characters:
MAIN CHARACTER: Rob Adams, Mayor of Orangeville

And that is pretty much it, all you need to know.
Abbreviated version:
  • Orangeville/Adams bought the rail line as an economic driver for Orangeville
  • Cost $3.5 million, $2 million of which was paid for the by taxpayers of Ontario NOT Orangeville
  • Net cost to Orangeville $1.5 million
  • Rail proved not to be financially viable
  • Orangeville/Adams enters into an agreement to sell the rail line to Highlands for $7 million (including the “bonus” of $2 million)
  • Net gain to Adams $5 million not including the $500,000 annually paid by Highlands on property taxes
  • Loss of respect of most ratepayers in Dufferin-priceless

Long story, so, hang on to your hat, here we go:

In 2000, the then Orangeville Mayor, Rob Adams, had a brilliant idea.

He would purchase the abandoned rail line in Orangeville positioning it to his ratepayers as the economic salvation of his town.

The then MPP, David Tilson (now MP Tilson) managed to secure a no strings $2 million provincial grant and put that towards the $3.5 purchase price.  (Note: a no strings grant in government speak is you don't have to pay it back, no matter what and that means the PROVINCIAL taxpayers paid to help Orangeville out.)

So good on Tilson.  He did what an MPP is supposed to do. 
Help bolster the economy for his local constituents. I bet now he wishes he had taken a harder look at the business plan though.

The railroad purchase then was a steal at a net cost of $1.5 million for Orangeville.

The Orangeville Railway Development Corporation (ORDC), now managed by the Orangeville Brampton Railway Corporation OBRC) was formed.

The formation of the ORDC was permitted under the Municipal Act, which basically lets municipalities form corporations, who then are no longer bound by those pesky open meeting rules in the Municipal Act,  (or union rules or anything other than private corporation rules).

So fair enough.
The future was so bright for Rob Adams at that time, he had to wear shades.

Except, and here comes the except, Mayor Adams didn’t have the foresight to realize that Orangeville is ONLY 30 km from Brampton.

I guess he didn't realize that by the time an industrial business loads freight on to a truck, drives it to an Orangeville train depot, unloads it off a truck onto the train, then unloads it off the train at the Brampton depot and trucks it somewhere in Brampton or the GTA, it is a hell of a lot faster to just truck it in the first place.

Good God, any 4 year old that plays with a Thomas the Tank set would know that.

Mayor Adams also also seemed to fail to recognize that while there were benefits to him as an elected official of forming a development corporation (again, he would be away from glare of the pesky public and press) there would also be negatives.

Private corporations pay taxes.

And pay taxes this rail corporation does.

To the tune of $500,000.00 a year.

So in 2008, along comes Orangeville’s saviour the Highland Companies aka Baupost who were looking for a little corridor from Melancthon to Owen Sound to “enhance” their existing agricultural operations, they said.

 In 2009 Orangeville and Highlands entered into an agreement of purchase and sale, with Highlands agreeing to pay $5 million for the purchase of the rail line in Orangeville, with an additional $2 million being paid to Orangeville when the remaining County railbed was sold to Highlands and the track laid.

And yeah, I forgot this little detail. Can you guess who offered and is paying the annual property taxes on behalf of Orangeville until the deal is closed?

All together now....survey says: Highlands. To the tune of $500,000 per year.


  1. Can you confirm that the 5-year rail agreement between Orangeville and Highland is really cancelled? Seems odd that they would renew it and cancel it within the year. Or are they just trying to make a point with taxpayers?

  2. Yup and now the people of Orangeville will pay and pay and pay until the little railroad dies.

    We dont need it anyways!

    Who needs it and the industries it supports or could support ?

    It is the root of all evil..... Oh except for the people who need jobs to pay the Taxes!!!!

    Careful what you wish for, maybe it will come true.

    1. Last I looked the Orangeville rail line, more than 12 years after inception had five customers. FIVE. 5. Just five.

  3. Just five, tell that to the peoples who work there and there families. I image there is more then JUST FIVE. What a Pathetic statement.

    1. The website states there are six: OBRAG members include Geon Canada Inc., The Clorox Co. of Canada Ltd., Symplastics Ltd., Performance Packaging Inc., Vulsay Ltd., and Holmes Agro Ltd. and it operates two, just TWO days a week. check it out.