Council approves sidewalks on Amelia St.

July 28, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville Council has provided final approval to move forward on the installation of a sidewalk on the west side of Amelia Street, but with added revisions following comments from local residents and Public Works.

The project was passed in the 2016 Budget process, which meant it went to tender earlier this year for completion of the work, the discussions of which initially stemmed from concerned residents wanting a crossing guard.

Last November, the Building and By-Law Department submitted information to Council concerning the request for a crossing guard at the intersection of Amelia and McCarthy Street. Based on the report, Council found it would be a better decision to install a new concrete sidewalk running from McCarthy to Elizabeth Street on the west side of Amelia.

But not all residents were thrilled with the solution. On July 6, Council received a letter from local resident Kelly Blackstock, representing herself and four other residents: John Sovey, Betty Romas, and Derek and Anna Dolsen. The group wished to dispute the installation for three reasons:

1) here is an existing sidewalk on the east side of the street.

2) he installation of a sidewalk on the west side would mean homeowners would be limited to one parking space, though [many of the] residents are family-sized dwellings.

3) he installation of a sidewalk on the west side would require the removal or significant pruning of mature trees, some of which are within property lines.

“Furthermore,” wrote Ms. Blackstock, “we feel that we should have been made aware that the Town was considering the installation of a sidewalk on the west side of Amelia Street in November when the proposal was brought before Council.”

She added if the Town were to disregard their objection to the sidewalk, they would request the Town consider installing it directly next to the street like those on Elizabeth, Zina and Louisa streets. They also requested the town consider widening the existing driveways to allow them to maintain double-parking at the residences.

At last week’s Council meeting, a memo was presented by Public Works, recommending the project be moved forward as a curb-facing sidewalk. Throughout the design project, Public Works also reached the conclusion placing the sidewalk the usual 1.5 metres away from the curb presented a large number of challenges.

“Retrofitting sidewalks in older sections of Town typically include[s] conflicts with boulevard trees, underground utilities, and municipal infrastructure,” read the report. “This was found to be the case for the new Amelia Street sidewalk.”

Staff’s recommendation was to design and install the new sidewalk as a curb-faced sidewalk with a width of 1.8 metres.

“This location avoids the aforementioned challenges and conflicts. The additional width also provides for maintenance.”

The report also noted the existing curb would be adjusted to accommodate the three existing driveways affected by the new sidewalk. Despite the recommendation by staff to accommodate the concerns, Councillor Don Kidd remained in opposition to the project.

“When this first came to Council I did not support it,” he said. “There is a sidewalk on the east side of Amelia, and only one resident brought the crossing guard concerns to the town. If anyone has gone over there in the morning to see how many children cross at that street, they would see it is not worth it.”

He added he felt spending $38,000 of taxpayer funds for the sidewalk was not a wise expenditure.

Councillor Nick Garisto was also in opposition, adding the provisions in the plan would not do enough to allow for residents on Amelia to park more than one vehicle in their driveway.

However, because the project was already approved and sent to tender, there were questions about the legal and financial ramifications of removing the project at this time.

“I am not a lawyer, so I cannot speak to that specifically, however, several of our tenders were awarded to companies based on working on multiple projects together,” said Doug Jones, Director of Public Works. “Companies sometimes give us a lower rate if they are combining multiple projects.”

He suggested putting in a curb-faced sidewalk is the lesser of two evils in this situation.

Councillor Sylvia Bradley pointed out the issue of Amelia Street is one that keeps coming back to Council, and a solution needed to be provided.

“Every year, pretty much, something comes up about Amelia Street,” she said. “Each year it’s ‘we want a sidewalk’ ‘we want a crossing guard’ ‘we want something’.”

Council voted on the recommendation from staff to move forward with the curb-facing sidewalk, and it passed with a vote of 4-3, with Councillors Kidd, Scott Wilson, and Garisto opposing.


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