Capital works program to include Pickering Dr. project

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of big ticket items have been approved as part of the town’s $8.2 million capital works program, but not all members agreed on what roads should be done.

A debate was held during last Tuesday night’s budget deliberation session at town hall as to whether to do projects pertaining to Pickering Dr. or to resurface Angstrom Cr.

Capital works projects were debated as part of last Monday and Tuesday night’s budget session. Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

Capital works projects were debated as part of last Monday and Tuesday night’s budget session. Pickering Dr. will get some work this year, including the intersection of Pickering and Sandwich (pictured).

The town would agree to keep Pickering Dr. in the budget with that including resurfacing the road from King St. to Dalhousie St. and doing a watermain at the same time. Work at the intersection of Pickering Dr. and Sandwich St. S. is also planned for 2017.

Councillor Rick Fryer indicated he would rather see work performed on Angstrom Cr. this year, noting the street in the Pointe West subdivision has been in need of repair since 2005. He said there were 99 pictures sent to him of the condition of the road.

“There’s more gaps in that road than in any small street in Amherstburg,” Fryer contended. “I’m advocating for the road to be put somewhere into the budget.”

Fryer indicated he was willing to forgo the Pickering Dr. work for a year to get the work on Angstrom Cr. done.

Manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt said traffic counts factor into decisions and that Pickering Dr. is in poor condition as well as Angstrom. He said Pickering Dr. has significantly more traffic than Angstrom Cr.

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the town faces millions of dollars in road repairs and wondered if following up on the audit and finance committee’s suggestion to borrow money at low interest rates for some of the projects might be a way to go. The town’s approach to use money from the two per cent levies on road repairs would take “a 1,000 years to do,” he worried.

“Are these roads going to get done with the way we are doing business now?” asked Lavigne.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said funding of infrastructure is a big issue with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).

“Every municipality, not just Amherstburg, is in the same situation,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo continued by saying AMO is pressing upper levels of government for assistance.

“Without their help, we are going to be playing catch-up and trying to do what is coming up at the same time,” the mayor said.

Lavigne said he agreed with DiCarlo “100 per cent” but “we may be in the grave” waiting for help from the federal and provincial governments. He was also in favour of keeping the Pickering Dr. in the budget, particularly after learning the road reconstruction was being done the same time as the watermain.

“I don’t want to go to jail,” he remarked, in reference the province’s stringent rules relating to municipalities and their responsibility to keep water safe.

CAO John Miceli said the town keeps adding to its capital budget with it being at $8.2 million this year. If the town were to look at a “hybrid model” and try to borrow to do some projects, it would be a one-time capital infusion and not all of the work would be done.

Fryer believed it was “asinine” that people who pay the taxes like they have in Pointe West can’t get service, adding he has been told the condition of the road could lead to litigious situations.

Public works officials said Angstrom Cr. is not listed in the “now” category in terms of repairs and is listed in the 6-10 year category in terms of priority.

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin told town council that liability increases with the number of vehicles that travel certain roads and said municipalities follow roads needs studies because unbiased firms give their assessments on the priorities. Miceli said council risks being scrutinized by ratepayers and even lawyers if the town goes out of order on the roads needs study, adding the town can walk into a court of law if need be and defend itself using the study.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he wanted to see Angstrom Cr. reconstructed this year. The street is located off of Pointe West Dr.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he wanted to see Angstrom Cr. reconstructed this year. The street is located off of Pointe West Dr.

“We can defend ourselves because we have a roads needs study to identify priorities,” said Miceli.

Hewitt also noted that if projects were deferred, it could lead to other delays with future projects.

The Pickering Dr. resurfacing is pegged at $200,000 this year with work on the Pickering Dr./Sandwich St. S. intersection calling for $337,700 this year and $412,300 next year in funding. The intersection improvements call for replacement of a traffic signal control cabinet, upgrades to the existing controller cabinet, the replacement of poles, signals and wiring where required and improving curbs, sidewalks and other amenities to meet accessibility requirements.

Angstrom Cr. is projected to be a $500,000 project.

Town council voted 4-1 to go ahead with the budget as recommended with DiCarlo, Lavigne and councillors Leo Meloche and Diane Pouget voting in favour. Fryer was opposed. Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Councillor Joan Courtney were not in attendance.

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