Council approves motion to make application to MTO Connecting Links program

(Gazette file photo)





At Tuesday’s regular meeting at Shire Hall, Prince Edward County Council passed a motion to accept a recent report from the Community Development Department recommending an application for the Connecting Links Program.

The intent of the report in question was to receive authorization from Council for staff to submit the application with the intent to rehabilitate 2.2 km of Bloomfield Main Street.

The Connecting Links Program helps Ontario municipalities repair municipally owned roadways and bridges that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing.

Expected to cost $3.244 million, MTO will fund 90 per cent of the project, while the municipality will have to fund 10 per cent of the project costs.

The cost incurred by the municipality for this project if the application is approved will be $324, 400 and will be derived from the Reserve for Road Construction.

Councillor Janice Maynard drew attention to the analysis and comments section of the report, pointing out that the road in question is low on the County’s ranking of roads that need work done.

“This would be $324,000 that is not budgeted from our capital reserves. As it says, this would be low on our ranking of roads to do and that would be money that could be available to do much higher ranked roads and would allow us the time to have a better roads needs study and to get our roads reserves into a place where we could easily accommodate this amount, knowing that road is in good shape,” said Maynard. “If we were going to do a section in Bloomfield, we might want to do a section that goes west on Hwy 33. I think that, for this year at least, we should maintain that $324,000, not pull it out of the roads reserve.”

Maynard further iterated that, at some point, she hopes the County will use the Connecting Links program to do work on that road. For the time being, Maynard stated the County should halt any plans to work on that particular roadway.

However, Councillor Jamie Forrester viewed the application as a good investment on a roadway last rebuilt in 2000.

“I wouldn’t doubt that the MTO has a 20 year cycle on their road, at least that’s what they appear to be doing lately. Spend 10 per cent to get 90 per cent…I’ll do that everyday. We may not get it, but at least we’r showing initiative and saying we’d like to do this because it makes financial sense,” Forrester said.

Councillor Brad Nieman inquired as to whether sidewalks were included in the funding from Connecting Links.

“It is only the travelled road that is applicable,” replied Acting CAO Robert McAuley. “Sidewalks etc., are considered municipal works. I believe there is a report coming forth on a crosswalk in Bloomfield.”

The application also stipulates that the County must adhere to the MTO’s timeline for completion of this project.

The proposed improvements will take place at the intersection of Hwy 33 and Hwy 62 in the west end of Bloomfield, east down Bloomfield Main Street to the town boundary. The project must be completed by March 31, 2023.

The staff report concedes that the funds required for the project could be used to improve other roads with higher needs. But, the report further states that leveraging $2.7 million on a $300 thousand investment means that the section of road slated for improvement won’t require any capital for years to come, allowing for more pressing repairs to take place on roadways through the municipality.