Town delays Broadway sidewalk replacement project until fall 2022

June 30, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

On Monday (June 28) Orangeville Council voted 6-1 to delay the replacement of sidewalks along Broadway until fall of 2022 to allow local businesses to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.

During a public information session regarding the replacement of sidewalks along Broadway in early June, local businesses came out in full force against the project moving forward this year, following 16 months of forced closures and restrictions.

Coun. Todd Taylor, who supported the motion to delay the sidewalk reconstruction until fall of 2022, noted that he wants to be supportive of the business community but the project can’t be further delayed from next fall.

“My understanding is everyone needs income at this point in time and this is what makes sense to us,” he said. “I just want to warn those businesses or suggest to those businesses that this does need to be done. It’s a unique circumstance and I hope everyone remembers next year in the fall that Council delayed this really for the last two years.

“Next fall, it needs to be done, like it absolutely needs to be done…next year, we’re not going to be very popular as well, because it’s going to be all ripped up, but it needs to be done,” Coun. Taylor added.

Coun. Debbie Sherwood proposed doing half of the work in the spring of 2022 and finishing it in the fall of 2022 to allow for all the festivals and downtown events to not be impeded, but the Town’s manager of infrastructure services, Doug Jones, noted that this would increase the project’s cost and is not a common practice among contractors.

Coun. Lisa Post said she’s in support of the fall 2022 construction date as Orangeville’s business owners had a consistent message that now is not the right time. However, as Coun. Taylor mentioned, she stressed the need for the work to be completed next year.

“There’s really no good time for construction, but it needs to happen, so to all the business owners that are out there, if we if we push it this time, we really need to move forward in August of 2022, and we all need to be prepared for that,” she said.

Meanwhile, Coun. Grant Peters was the sole vote against moving forward with the sidewalk reconstruction in the fall of 2022 and instead wanted to see it done in the spring of next year.

“This has been a much more complex issue than I think we thought it was when we approved it back in 2019, for the 2020 budget, but from an engineering perspective, from a capital cost perspective, this fall still makes the most sense,” he said.

“Obviously, that argument does not take into account the incredible outreach we’ve had in businesses, and obviously that can’t be ignored. They make a very strong point, so I would agree that deferring it makes sense, but I do worry about pushing it all the way back to next fall.”

Given that the Town is already 18 months behind on the project, it should be done in the spring, Coun. Peters said. The longer they wait the more likely they’ll have added costs and complications, he added.

Coun. Peters also noted that there are opportunities to complete the work in the spring of next year that are more efficient and will have less of an impact on businesses than what’s anticipated, as the work can be done before patios open.

“I understand that many of you are looking to fall of 2022, but I personally believe that it’s too long, and that it would be a little more efficient in the spring,” he said. “There’s sacrifices no matter when we decide to go through this work, so all that said, I think spring is still the best solution.”

However, Coun. Peters’ plea for an earlier reconstruction date was unsuccessful.

Construction of sidewalk will proceed in the fall of 2022.  

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