Council moving forward with decommissioning Survey Lane

December 16, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council is moving forward with the decommissioning of Survey Lane, a 200 metre stretch of road that runs from Second to Third Street, parallel to Fourth Avenue.

Earlier in the year, Council discussed closing off the road and turning it into a grassed area, used as a walkway, instead of a roadway, largely due to its proposed budget cost.

It was presented as a $71,500 budget item, at the time, to fully reconstruct the road since it’s at the end of its life, while repurposing it as a trail would only cost around $25,000.

However, in Town staff’s report to Council regarding the Survey Lane, which was discussed at Council’s meeting last Monday (Dec. 9), it made note of feedback from the public on converting Survey Lane into a trailway.

“The closing of Survey Lane and repurposing the lands for a trailway creates challenges for individuals and the medical clinic connected to the lane,” reads the report. “Staff also acknowledge that the volume of vehicular traffic on the lane is low. As such, it is Staff’s position that Survey Lane remain open. The condition will be monitored and only minor maintenance will be undertaken to keep the lane functional, accessible for maintenance of infrastructure and safe.”

Gary Kocialek, the Town’s interim manager of infrastructure services, said from the public consultation, they found that certain residents can only access their backyards through the laneway, due to the layout of their townhouses. It was also noted they have a number of sheds that are accessed through the laneway, which wouldn’t be accessible if it was closed and turned into a trail.

Another issue was that on Second Street, where a doctor’s office is located, it was expressed that Survey Lane is needed to access the office’s parking area. Kocialek said if Survey Lane is closed, Council would have to get an encroachment agreement with the doctor’s office, which also presents challenges.

“It came to light to staff that actually there are a number of things at play, there’s absolutely no need to repave the lane and turn it into sort of a new condition for sake of a better word, because there’s very little traffic on it. But there are people that use it, and in our opinion, it would be a challenge for those people if we were to actually stop it up and close it and turn it into a walkway or trail,” said Kocialek.

With this in mind, Town staff said the road should remain in the same condition with just minimal maintenance to keep it operational and safe so it can continue to allow vehicular access, he noted.

Coun. Grant Peters asked Kocialek if there would be any “level of service” issues with leaving Survey Lane in the condition that it’s in.

“Without doing a level of maintenance or repair on that section, at some point, that capital item will just come back to us, or there may be insurance claims or concerns along that stretch. So just hoping [for you] to provide some more information on that,” he asked.

Kocialek said the road does go through inspections associated with minimum maintenance standards to ensure it doesn’t have too many potholes and remains safe for snowplowing.

“At the end of the day, the standard for a lane with that much traffic on it is relatively low, it could even revert to something that’s just surface treated. It doesn’t have to be a paved laneway that’s up to the standards of other lanes around town that everybody has their backyards or driveways on,” explained Kocialek.

He said this is a similar situation to when a previous Council tried to close Rocky Lane, which residents continue to use, and its maintenance cost is only $3,000 a year.

Coun. Debbie Sherwood said she’s a bit concerned about Town staff’s recommendation with respect to keeping the road open, as it goes against the direction Council provided earlier in the year to close it down.

“Council was quite clear that they wanted this to not remain the way it is. I’m not in favour of putting any money towards maintenance of that lane, it was quite clear that we wanted it to be a trail,” she remarked.

Council is moving forward with converting Survey Lane to a trail as no councillor moved to rescind their prior direction to Town staff to decommission it. They voted 7-0 at the Dec. 9 Council meeting to provide a site access agreement to the medical clinic and receive Town staff’s report for information, before putting the issue to rest.

Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 10.

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