Todd Hewitt

Amherstburg moving ahead with major forcemain project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A major infrastructure project is proceeding with that project that has been said to allow for hundreds of homes to be built in the Golfview and Kingsbridge areas.

Town council awarded a tender to J&J Lepera Infrastructures with the work to be done to upgrade pump stations in the area and to construct a forcemain to divert wastewater to the Amherstburg sewage treatment plant.

Total cost of this phase of the project is $8.9 million but a developer is contributing approximately $917,000 for pump station improvements. This is the second of three phases of the Edgewater Diversion Project.

Manager of engineering Todd Hewitt indicated that is the normal course of action as developers are responsible for moving sewage while the town is required to receive the sewage.

“That’s what the project is doing,” said Hewitt.

Hewitt told town council at a special meeting last Wednesday afternoon that he couldn’t estimate a work schedule until after the project was awarded but hoped work crews would be in full swing by mid-August. Installing the forcemain will involve tearing up Front Road North (County Road 20) from roughly the Edgewater area to Alma St. It is expected to reduce the highway from four lanes to two during the construction period.

“It’s a pretty aggressive timeline to get it done,” said Hewitt.

The timeline to complete the forcemain is Nov. 30, he stated, with the pump station due for completion by March 1, 2019. Kingsbridge developer Mike Dunn told town council he will be able to proceed with 700 homes once this phase of the project is completed.

“That’s good news for the town,” responded Councillor Rick Fryer.

Hewitt indicated that there could be “other opportunities for development” for the lands in the Edgewater sewage area other than Kingsbridge.

Councillor Leo Meloche questioned why the project cost was coming in higher than projected. Hewitt stated the town received two tenders for the work.

“It tells you the remainder of the contractors are very busy and unable to tender the work,” said Hewitt.

Comparisons were also done of similar projects in other municipalities, he added, and that costs tended to come in 15-20 per cent higher than original estimates.

As part of his written report to town council, Hewitt stated: “The Town has invested significant dollars to upgrade and expand the Amherstburg Wastewater Treatment Plant and upgrade the Pump Station No. 2. The recommended works in this report are the final steps to allow the Edgewater Lagoons to be decommissioned and to utilize the capacity built into the treatment plant. By not moving forward on this project the Town could risk potential fines and additional costs from the MOECC (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change) for not addressing the issues with respect to the early discharges at the Edgewater lagoons. The Edgewater Lagoons are currently at capacity. Not approving this project will end future residential development in this area until sewage capacity is increased. This project will allow for residential development and growth to move forward in this area, specifically North Kingsbridge, which has been at a standstill for many years due to the lack of capacity in the Edgewater system.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said it was big news for the town, stating at least 700 new homes are coming to the town.

“It’s definitely some nice closure on a very big project that has literally held back the town and development,” said DiCarlo. “I think the big news is really the homes.”

DiCarlo stated that while there have been some new builds in the area, developers have had restrictions on what can be constructed. He is hopeful the forcemain will be operational by the end of the year.

“We’re definitely going to get on it ASAP,” said the mayor.

The Edgewater lagoons should be decommissioned next year with the estimated cost of that phase being just over $1 million.

“We have made major investments in water infrastructure,” said DiCarlo.

The overall cost of the project, including all three phases, is approximately $14 million. Grant funding received in 2015 provided $5.8 million with $1.8 million being used on the current phase that will be done this year.

Town orders another $146,000 in LED light fixtures

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Due to a shortfall in LED lights, the Town of Amherstburg has ordered 210 more in order to complete the project.

Town council authorized the purchase and installation of 210 more fixtures to complete the LED light conversion project “in an amount not to exceed $145,800 plus HST.” The town states the total contract value is not to exceed $1,332,556 plus HST.

The town accepted a proposal for the completion of the 2018 LED streetlight conversion program, reported manager of engineering Todd Hewitt in his report to council. The contract was awarded to Anchor Hydro Feb. 28 and the project began in April.

“Anchor Hydro has completed a field verification of the light fixtures required to complete the conversion of the Town’s streetlights to LED fixtures. Through that process it has been determined that the Town requires a further 210 cobrahead streetlights to complete the conversion, over and above the estimated 1,443 identified in for the project for a total of 1,653 fixtures.”

The Town of Amherstburg has authorized the purchase and installation of 210 more LED light fixtures at an amount not to exceed $145,800 plus HST. Pictured are the lights that are on Murray St. Many of the new LED lights have been installed but the new lights will bring the total up to 1,653 total fixtures.

Hewitt added: “Administration has reviewed the data used for the project scoping and procurement process, and have determined that the majority of the variance relates to streetlights being incorrectly listed in the Town’s Tangible Capital Asset (TCA) inventory as ‘County owned.’ It is believed the data error may have arisen because the majority of those streetlights were located along County roads. As only Town owned assets were identified for replacement, the lights marked as County owned were excluded from the TCA inventory list provided for the RFP; however it has since been determined that that the Town owns the fixtures. The balance of the discrepancy appears to have resulted from incorrect TCA inventory data captured when the asset inventory was initialized in 2008. Administration will continue to review and refine the Town’s TCA inventory and Asset Management Plan to capture complete and accurate data.”

CAO John Miceli states they are continuing to update its asset management plan and acknowledged “there are some gaps” and the town is trying to correct things in the future.

Miceli added that residents are happy with the new LED lights.

“We made the decision to add the lights and extend the scope of the contract,” Miceli said of the new 210 fixtures. Though they were ordered after the initial number of lights, installation isn’t expected to be delayed.

 

Angstrom Cr. residents fed up with condition of roadway

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Residents of Angstrom Dr. have had it with the condition of their road and want the town to make it a priority.

The roadway has fallen into disrepair with residents along the street, which runs off of Pointe West Dr., stating they and other neighbours have suffered injuries due to the concrete road cracking and heaving.

A group of concerned neighbours met with the RTT last Wednesday evening and also attended Monday night’s town council meeting. At the latter, council members voiced sympathy to the residents’ plight and will conduct a further investigation into the matter but some were quick to point out other roads need tending to as well.

Zane Handysides represented residents at Monday night’s meeting, telling town council “the road is getting worse as time goes on.”

“It’s becoming a liability for homeowners,” he said. “We just want our road to be repaired. It’s simply disintegrating around us.”

Handysides said they are “looking for a long-term solution” and “we need to get that road on the replacement side, not the repair side. The road is, quite frankly, embarrassing and I believe, unsafe.”

Residents recalled stories to the RTT last week of meeting with prior mayors and council members but not getting anything but patchwork to the road in return.

“I called 13 years ago when I first moved in,” said Nicole Sekela. “I couldn’t believe the state of the road.”

Residents of Angstrom Cr. are looking for
replacement of their road. They note the cement road is cracking and heaving and repairs aren’t doing anything positive.

Roger Racette, another resident on the street, claimed that he has had to replace springs and the sway bar on his vehicle twice due to the state of the road.

Racette said he brought a chunk of concrete to town hall before while said Sekela she called the town daily at one point to seek action. Sekela added that while residents in the rural areas have noise concerns over rumble strips, the cracks along their road make noise too.

“It sounds like someone has a flat tire when they go by,” she said.

Todd Laliberte believes the fact the road is currently concrete works against him, though neighbours believe it would just have to be cut six inches from the curb and removed. The residents say they are simply looking for asphalt.

The residents want Angstrom Dr. moved up on the town’s list of priorities for repair. Patching the road doesn’t work, they state, with Handysides stating last week that it eventually comes up and ends up on their front lawns.

“We’re not looking for anything special,” he said. “Just a normal, paved, asphalt road.”

“We can’t drive straight,” added Sekela last Wednesday, noting they weave around heaving concrete and holes to get off their road.

The road has dropped on the roads needs study, with numbers ranging from 170 to 183, Monday night in terms of where it is placed.

Todd Hewitt, manager of engineering for the town, said some roads are divided into several sections so the same road could be on there multiple times. He said the study was done in 2016 by an independent consultant.

“I’m not disagreeing that the road is in disrepair,” he told council Monday night, but added there are “a number of roads ahead of Angstrom Cr. in the study.

Hewitt gave a rough estimate of $350,000-$400,000 to fix Angstrom Cr.

Residents have been erecting signage along Angstrom Cr. to urge the town to replace the street. (Submitted photo)

Councillor Rick Fryer, who has raised the state of the road before at town council meetings, said the road is “pathetic” and believes it has been forgotten about. He said he was “sick and tired” of hearing of people getting hurt on that road.

“I got hurt on a section of sidewalk that wasn’t repaired by the town,” he reminded his council colleagues.

Fryer added that the town has gone down the roads needs study before and planned to re-do roads that were not at the top of it, citing Creek Road, though public works said Creek Road was second and fifth in the study as it was divided into two sections.

Councillor Jason Lavigne noted there have been recent pleas to look at other roads at recent council meetings, as Concession 2 North and South Riverview Dr. have been discussed at previous meetings. Lavigne acknowledged he is a former Angstrom Cr. resident and said the road is in “horrible condition.” He added his belief that previous councils didn’t spend the money they should have on roads and now the town faces a cost of about $260 million to repair them.

“There’s a lot of road issues we’ve inherited,” he said.

Councillor Leo Meloche agreed there are other roads that need attention, stating he knows of another road where he said Canada Post won’t even go down it to deliver mail.

“This council is trying to allocate funds to do major repairs and stop band-aid solutions,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “We definitely hear (the residents’) point and administration will bring back a report.”

 

 

Town receives funding to add more bike lanes

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg is hoping to add one, or perhaps two, new bike lanes thanks to funding it has secured from the province.

Amherstburg has secured $97,259.51 from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling (OMCC) program and town council has authorized administration to enter into a transfer payment agreement with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to obtain the funding.

Both projects identified qualified for OMCC funding, manager of engineering Todd Hewitt stated in his report to town council, with those projects being the installation of paved shoulders on Alma St. from Meloche Road to Fryer St. and the installation of a second bike lane along County Road 20 from Dalhousie St. to Front Road South (Amherst Pointe).

“There is currently no budget dollars assigned to either of the eligible projects and one or both of the projects will be included in the future budgets for council consideration,” Hewitt said in his report to council. “The project(s) must be completed by December 30, 2020 to utilize the OMCC funding.”

Hewitt said the Alma St. project carries an initial estimate of $487,500 with 40 per cent of that project eligible for CWATS funding from the County of Essex.

A paved shoulder/bike lane on the other side of County Road 20 – that stretch has a bike lane on the east side of the road – has an initial estimated cost of $500,000, said Hewitt. That project would also be eligible for 40 per cent funding through CWATS.

Unless the CWATS committee expands the number of identified projects they wish to pursue, this would be it for Amherstburg’s share of projects.

“Once these two programs are done, from a CWATS perspective, we’re done,” advised Hewitt.

Councillor Leo Meloche said more needs to be done in the McGregor area, believing there is a need for more paved shoulders and trails to allow McGregor residents better walking access to parks. Councillor Rick Fryer agreed, saying there are areas of McGregor that need to be connected to ERCA’s Cypher Systems Greenway. That greenway trail runs through McGregor.

Town working with engineering firm to provide new development opportunities

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has authorized an agreement with Stantec Consulting Ltd. to provide engineering services to complete the Southeast Quadrant Servicing Class Environmental Assessment.

What that means is that there could be an additional 1,777 homes built on lands around the Fryer St. and Lowes Side Road intersection in the future.

CAO John Miceli stated that there are five parcels of land in that area that are owned by five different developers. The goal is to develop the lands at the same time and the town is trying to facilitate that development.

The specific project being funded at this stage is for a Class Environmental Assessment (EA).

“We have received confirmation from three of the five developers that they want the project to proceed. Administration is working with the fourth developer to address some of their concerns while the fifth

landowner has requested to be excluded from the servicing,” manager of engineering Todd Hewitt stated in a report to town council. “Although final draft plans and designs have not been completed for these developable properties, Stantec used conceptual designs and typical housing densities to determine approximate number of residential units per development. With the three confirmed developers, there is a potential for 1,277 residential units with an additional 500 with the fourth developer.”

A total of $225,000 excluding HST has been pre-committed in the 2018 wastewater budget to cover this stage of the project.

“A portion of the roadwork (including storm sewers) would need to be funded through general tax and development charges. This work would include the full reconstruction of Fryer St. from Pickering to Lowes and the full reconstruction of Lowes Side Road from Sandwich St. to Meloche Road,” Hewitt’s report stated. “Preliminary estimates that were completed for the original servicing study place the cost of this work at $8,062,000. This estimate is based on converting these roads to an urban cross-section including curbs and storm sewers.”

Hewitt noted these projects have been outlined in the development charge study of 2014.

“From a potential revenue perspective the estimated 1,777 homes would generate an estimated $22,644,311 in development fees (using the 2018 development charge fee of $12,743 for single family and semi-detached dwellings). From an ongoing municipal tax perspective assuming an average home price of $250,000 for the full build out of 1,777 homes, would generate approximately $4.1 million in annual municipal revenue based on the 2018 mill rate. This revenue would remain in perpetuity on a yearly basis,” Hewitt stated in his report.

Approving the engineering services to complete the Class EA is the next step in

developing the southeast quadrant lands, Hewitt added, and not have approving it would have delayed the project for “a significant amount of time.”