The last few years have seen an increase in construction projects surrounding Wood Avenue and Marguerite Street in Smiths Falls, leaving residents concerned over the state of the street’s storm sewers.
Smiths Falls council discussed three different options for moving forward with the Marguerite Street project at a virtual meeting on Monday, Aug. 24.
Option one is to do nothing as infrastructure investments are largely informed by the town’s asset management plan. Option two is to advance with funding the detailed design of the storm sewers along Marguerite Street at a $10,000 cost. Option three is to advance the project using local improvement charges.
“This would be the first time we’ve undertaken a project using the local improvement charges,” Coun. Wendy Alford said. “That’s a precedent setting undertaking for the municipality and we would be undertaking it for just six homes. That’s a precedent I wouldn’t be comfortable setting.”
There are 14km of poor or very poor roads in Smiths Falls according to Director of Public Works Troy Dunlop.
“We don’t know where that would end up on the list of priorities,” Coun. Alford said. “I will support Option One which is at this point not to move forward with any work on Marguerite Street.”
The Maple Ridge subdivision will see the development of 120 lots for single family homes with one block for storm water management and two pedestrian access blocks. Council approved it in March and the developer wanted to extend a trunk storm sewer along the existing section of Wood Avenue to ensure a proper drainage outlet for the new Wood Avenue extension.
Residents of the area recommended that existing ditches by closed and the road should be upgraded with new sidewalks on Marguerite Street at no cost to the residents. The total cost of the project is between $199,000 and $226,000 if new sidewalks are installed all the way from Allan Street to Brockville Street.
“I don’t think I would ever be supportive of spending 200,000 of tax payer money to improve this one small area when there are so many other areas that need attention more dramatically,” Mayor Shawn Pankow said.
“For me the option here is Option Two. This neighbourhood is evolving and there’s going to be many, many people there,” Coun. Jay Brennan said. “It’s the fair thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.”
Coun. Chris McGuire agreed with Brennan that the current state of the street is a public safety issue.
“If we look at the development that’s going on across from the mall approximately 500 new people could be living here in the next two to three years,” Coun. McGuire said. “It’s a rapidly evolving community.”