October 15, 2014

Timmy's sidewalk gets higher priority

As published in The Erin Advocate

A sidewalk from Ross Street to Tim Hortons has been bumped up to priority status for 2015, and the Town will ask Wellington County to pay 35% of the cost, Council decided on October 7.

Several years ago the project was estimated to cost $310,000, but now it is up to $370,000, according to a report by Road Superintendent Larry Van Wyck.

“Major physical changes in the right of way will be necessary,” he said. Main Street is a County Road, so their permission is needed, but sidewalks are primarily a Town responsibility. One of the two ditches running to a stormwater pond in that section is on private property.

Town Councillor Barb Tocher, now running for County Council, said, “We need to have a partnership with the county and the landowners.”

Shane Baghai, developer of the medical centre and commercial properties including Tim Horton's, has already contributed $100,000 towards the sidewalk and wants the project to proceed. Council has expressed concerns about safety due to the large number of students walking in the area.

The project will require 550 metres of sidewalk, plus storm sewers or catch basins, a curb and gutter or physical separation to protect pedestrians and the filling of one of the ditches. It is not included in the capital budget or five-year forecast. Plans for the location of a sanitary sewer pipe may also have to be considered.

Land surveyor Rod Finnie, a former mayor now running to return to that same position, suggests that the easterly ditch on private land be filled in and the sidewalk built there, reducing the need for construction along the roadway. He has offered his services for free to prepare a topographical plan showing elevations of the land between the road and the east side of the second ditch. He would also survey any easements required.

“I believe that we could create a sidewalk that would provide safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists well away from the road,” he said.