During Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Perth town council welcomed a virtual visit from Chris Belanger, Ministry of Transportation project manager. Belanger brought news of pending improvements to Highway 7 that would impact Perth: the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) intends to tackle the reconstruction of Highway 7.
Belanger shared that the work will be done along a 4.5km patch of highway from west of County Rd 511 to Wayside Drive West. This will include resurfacing of the highway; widening of Highway 7 between County Road 511 and Perth Mews Mall and between Wilson Street and Drummond Street to accommodate a continuous two-way left-turn lane; intersection improvements; a new municipal roadway from Dufferin Road to Highway 7 with a new intersection. While there are no specific dates or budget guarantees at this time, Belanger expects the reconstruction to take place in 2026.
This work is the responsibility and financial consideration of the MTO; however, Perth would be responsible for the implementation of sidewalks, and potentially replacing water mains and/or sanitary sewers.
Mayor Fenik commented that Perth has long been asking the MTO for improvements to the intersection of Highway 7 and Drummond Street. “Lanark met with Carolyn Mulroney [the Minister of Transportation] to discuss this yesterday. Can you give us your assurances that we won’t have to wait another 8-10 years for a turning lane?”
Belanger was unable to commit to this with certainty, but replied that being at the Detail Design stage of the project was a good sign, “this is a good news story,” he replied.
Deputy Mayor McPherson shared the Mayor’s frustration with the lack of urgency shown by the MTO. “There isn’t a weekend that goes by that I don’t cringe thinking of the accidents that happen. I am confused that the MTO has allowed an advanced green but won’t let us reconfigure the lights. And now you’re telling me this may happen in 2026; last time we heard it may happen in 2023. I just want to be able to tell the taxpayers in the town of Perth that we’ve asked the MTO again.”
Belanger replied that the planning stage is a step forward. “We’re moving forward. This will solve those issues. We look forward to getting it to you in the relatively new future.”
Mayor Fenik thanked Belanger for his presentation, and noted that council “will continue to express the concerns we have. We don’t want our frustration with the [missing] advance green to overshadow the great work that’s been done.”
Full information, including design details and environmental assessment, is available to the public at https://highway7improvements.ca