Council frustrated by construction delays for Hansen connection

October 26, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Construction delays at a proposed subdivision has created a safety issue in Orangeville.

And town council feels left in the lurch by a pause in the Edgewood Valley Phase 2B and the Aldenhill subdivisions that will complete the Hansen Boulevard connection west of Blind Line.

A number of factors have thwarted the developer’s construction activities. Municipal staff now anticipate that this work will commence in early 2024, with the road being open to traffic in the late summer or fall.

The Hansen Boulevard Creek Crossing Bridge Project was planned to be completed by the town because the crossing does not fall centrally within any specific subdivision area and is not clearly tied to any specific development.

Completion of the Hansen Boulevard roadway and underlying services connection was to be completed by NG Citrus Limited, the developer responsible for the subdivision area.

Staff coordinated the creek crossing project closely with the advancement of the nearby subdivision approvals. This was to avoid completing the crossing project too early, which could result in the crossing works languishing while the subdivision and corresponding road construction progressed at the developer’s pace.

“Waiting too late to complete the crossing could hold up those same subdivision developments or conflict with their construction activities,” staff wrote in a report to council.

Draft approval of the Edgewood Valley Phase 2B plan of subdivisions was granted in February 2021. A condition of draft approval requires the developer to complete the entire remaining connection of Hansen Boulevard before final approval can be issued for the subdivision.

Final approval of this subdivision must be granted before home construction can proceed. This means that all the related subdivision infrastructure of the Hansen Boulevard connection must be completed before any home construction begins within the subdivision plan.

Concurrent with the Phase 2B subdivision approval process, the design of the creek crossing project began in September 2020. Construction was completed in August 2023.

Although the construction presented challenges, the structure is now in place, awaiting the developer’s construction of the road as part of their subdivision advancement, which will link the west development area near Veteran’s Way to the rest of the town’s transportation network. 

While the bridge’s construction was underway, town staff had been working with NG Citrus Limited to advance the Edgewood 2B plan through the final approval process.

Staff had previously reported to council that discussions were underway with the developer and that the timing of the bridge’s completion was starting to align with the start of servicing and road construction within the Edgewood 2B subdivision.

Staff had been meeting with the developer’s team regularly to hammer out a pre-servicing agreement, development charge credit agreement and finalize the subdivision’s engineering design details. But, there have been some complexities in coordinating the construction permissions and development charges credit arrangements to complete this work.

There are unique liability factors associated with the developer completing the road and underlying services in the vicinity of the creek crossing project.

“Essentially, the town must ensure that there will be no damage or liabilities to the creek crossing due to the developer’s road construction activities, whereas the developer wants to ensure that their road construction will not be adversely impacted by the underlying creek crossing,” staff reported.

Furthermore, the developer has advised town staff that recent changes in the economic landscape and market have impacted their operations. 

Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said he isn’t happy with the delay.

“We have spent money on infrastructure,” Taylor said. “We have committed to an area of our community that we are going to have this done.”

He said he understands the business reasoning behind the decision. But there needs to be consequences to delaying construction.

Councillor Andy Macintosh said it’s about time the municipality started to play hardball with the developers. He broached the possibility two years ago of the town paving the thoroughfare.

“I was told at the time that, either way, it would be completed at the same time,” he said. “Well, that is no longer the case.”

He suggested the town lay the asphalt now and have the developer repay the costs when they’re in a position to start work at the proposed subdivision.

Tom Kocialek, the town’s general manager of infrastructure services, said the land is privately owned, so the municipality doesn’t have the authority to build the road.

He said there’s a hold on most other developments in the area until the Hansen thoroughfare is completed.

Brandon Ward, the town’s planning manager, said there are some other land use approvals granted in the area, but there are still some other approvals required.

The project was probably approved about 18 years ago, and “it’s been a disaster from the get-go,” Taylor said. “This is probably the third or fourth blatantly unsatisfactory thing that’s happened to me since I’ve been on council in that Veteran’s Way subdivision since we’ve been dealing with this.”

Taylor has been on council for five years.

He suggested there be a post-mortem examination of the process after it’s finished.

“Sometimes understanding a little bit of the history helps you with the future,” Taylor said. “It’s still not a solve and I’m not happy with where we are.”

Mayor Lisa Post said she’d like to have representatives of the developer appear before council to explain the delays to residents of the area to be developed.

“We’ve held up our end of the bargain, which was making sure that the culvert and the bridge was built,” she said. “Their guarantee was that they were going to follow that up with immediate construction on the road.”

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