| Jun 26, 2008

Feature Article - June 26, 2008

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Feature Article - June 26, 2008 Central Frontenac Council -Jun 24/08By Jeff Green

Road capital improvement plan presented in Central Frontenac

Consultant Hans Munz, who was part of a team that did an organizational review for Central Frontenac Council earlier this year, presented a draft capital plan for the township’s roads at this week’s council meeting.

According to Munz, the key to the draft plan, which was prepared in conjunction with township staff, “is the classification of the roads. Rather than considering every road for itself, we’ve fit them into classes and set out thresholds for the condition we would like to see the roads in each class reach”.

The draft plan defines Road 38 as a Class “A” arterial road, and defines 13 roads as Class “B” collector roads. Smaller roads are defined as Class “C” and Class “C2”, and back roads are classed as “D” and “D2” roads.

“We’ve gone though the township road system and labeled each road with its most appropriate class. We then evaluated if each road lives up to the threshold established for that class,” Hans Munz said.

The two main categories for condition thresholds are “geometrics” and “ride”. “Geometrics” includes the width, hilliness and sight lines of each road, and “ride” includes the surface type and the roughness of the road.

Any road that scored 3 on any of the categories is slated for improvement, according to the road plan. The total cost to bring all of the roads up to the threshold level would be over $11 million.

“We have included three options for addressing this. The first, which we call basic, would be something the township could do within the funding that is currently spent on roads, or not too much more. It would cost over $5 million over 5 years,” said Munz.

The other two options, nicknamed “sustaining” and “improving” are costed out at $8.6 million and $13.1 million respectively over 5 years.

The draft plan includes a schedule for road improvements under each of the three options.

Public Works Manager John Simcock said, “The exciting part of this project was when we got all together and brainstormed for the reclassification of these roads. It’s astonishing how it is spread out geographically, with each area having about the same number of Class B and Class C roads. This proves you can serve all areas within the township equally. It better directs the way the roads will be done, and the best thing is you are no longer looking at one year at a time.”

Mayor Janet Gutowski said, “It is important that we communicate this plan to our public; since roads are the most expensive part of our budget we need to go to the public with this.”

“Can we go over the format of the public meeting?” asked Councilor Frances Smith. “Maybe we should get some information to the public and have the meeting later. People might just show up with grievances about their own roads otherwise.”

Council agreed. The draft Road Capital Investment Plan will be posted on the township website, and a meeting will be set for August.

Resident unhappy about road service – Archie Meeks, a resident of McLean Road (off Long Lake Road), appeared before council saying that “the last time we saw a grader was April 9.”

After making calls over several weeks to the public works department, Meeks said his wife received a call on a Friday from the public works manager, saying his road was being graded. “The grader stopped 200 yards from our place” Meeks told council.

Public Works Manager John Simcock said, “I did address your road problem. We have instituted a work order program and we are using a prioritising system.”

Mayor Gutowski said “I put over 100 kms on my car yesterday driving on the roads, including the Babcock Road. I’m very pleased with the roads department.”

“I’m glad you are, because I’m not,” said Archie Meeks.

“I’ve known Archie for years’,” said Councilor Bill Snyder, and he’s like me, he uses common sense.”

“With all due respect, Mr Snyder,” Gutowski responded, “we do not have a magic wand to deal with these things. We do have a plan, and you will have the opportunity as well to contribute in a positive way in the future.”

Construction remains strong – The longer than normal winter and talk of an economic slowdown have had minimal impact on the amount of building being planned for Central Frontenac this year. As of the end of May, 65 building permits have been issued, as compared to 54 at this point last year. The total value of construction is lower, however, at $2.46 million compared to $2.78 million in 2007. At the end of May in 2006, the total was $2.2 million.

The total number of new residential units stood at 12 at the end of May this year, compared to 17 in 2007 and 11 in 2006.

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