Thursday, August 9, 2018


Tracy Hipel a candidate in the upcoming municipal elections in Cambridge has just had a victory in his appeal of the assessment of his property for property tax purposes. All parties agreed that the initial assessment was reasonable under ordinary circumstances and that these however were not ordinary circumstances. The home in question is squarely in the area of impact of TCE vapour intrusion in the Bishop St. community. The TCE impact is of course courtesy of both Northstar Aerospace and a second property (G.E.) across the street from Northstar.

Hundreds of homes south of these properties and between them and the discharge point of the shallow aquifer into the Grand River have been affected by Trichloroethylene (TCE) vapour intrusion into their homes over a very long period of time. Studies and remediation have been ongoing since approximately 2005.

Frankly I believe that Mr. Hipel was very reasonable if not conservative in his request for a 15% reduction in his assessment based upon the reduction in value of his home due to the ongoing and very visible remediation on his property. This consists of a shed in his backyard which pumps out vapours from around his basement and then filters them through activated carbon before releasing them to the air. As was stated in the decision this also entails regular replacement of this carbon from duly authorized personnel entering his backyard which also disturbs his enjoyment of his property.

The City of Cambridge and the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) conceded to a 10% reduction in assessment of the property. Mr. Hipel suggested based upon a report (Valco) done several years ago that a reduction in assessment from 15 - 30 % was more appropriate and the Assessment Review Board agreed with him in their Decision handed down yesterday.

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