MORRISBURG – “Every time I drive through it, I’m quite pleased to see how well it works and how different it looks out there, particularly at nighttime with the streetlights. Certainly, I think we’ve created that Main Street that we’ve been looking for,” Ben de Haan said.
The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SDG)’s director of transportation de Haan, attended the municipality’s Sept. 26 council meeting. De Haan introduced a proposed a Roundabout and Streetscaping Cost-Sharing Policy, which would not supersede any responsibilities or spheres of jurisdiction defined within the Municipal Act. The presentation was an opportunity for council to learn more about the proposed policy and to offer their comments or concerns, as well as ask questions.
“The reason I’m here this evening is we are circulating to all the local municipalities, a draft cost-sharing policy for roundabout and streetscaping projects that we have done, just completed, or completing in the future,” de Haan said. “So, getting into the policy, and I know council has a copy of this policy in their package this evening, really what this is all about is trying to put it on paper in terms of how costs are being shared between ourselves and local municipalities as we’re delivering these projects, and if I’m being quite honest with council, this policy was really derived based on the positive working relationship we had with South Dundas as we work through Morrisburg.”
The two-page draft is included in South Dundas’ Sept. 26 council agenda package, which can be found on the municipal website (southdundas.com). The policy outlines the cost-sharing parameters for capital costs, ongoing maintenance, public art installations, and other enhancements.
Under the proposed draft, SDG would be responsible for 100 per cent of the costs associated with the design and construction of all elements that provide a safety purpose, while esthetic design changes and installations of ornamental elements are to be split 50/50. While the municipality would be 100 per cent responsible for ongoing maintenance of the hard and soft landscaping, the replacement of either would be shared if the elements have reached the end of their lifespan. If they have not, the party that wants the replacement will be 100 per cent responsible.
“I’d hate to have a situation where we want to do something but then the wheels of government go too slow and then we’re not able to do it,” Deputy Mayor Kirsten Gardner said. “There are companies that would like to contribute. I would hate to see the wheels go slow if you’ve got someone that comes to our table that’s willing to fund some of it. Our municipality is very different than the counties in the sense that things can be tighter, and I just don’t want to see them come in all enthusiastic with a cheque and then it just kind of dies on the table.”
De Haan addressed Gardner’s concern for budget schedules potentially impacting the timing or greenlight for a proposed project. He was asked if SDG would only consider a cost-sharing project prior to budget deliberations or if a project might be worked into an already existing budget should it arise later in the year.
“I think we just work it into the budget,” he said. “If it’s something that is, we’ll call it, substantial, I’m confident, just given our relationship with our local municipalities, I’m confident we’ll have wind of it and kind of build it into our budget as we’re working with it.”
It was suggested that a pre-approval clause be included in the policy ensuring both parties are on board prior to the start of any cost-sharing projects. Mayor Steven Byvelds agreed with the suggestion but also noted that he believes the draft is better than nothing, referring to it as “reasonable.” Council members added a few more suggestions for potential additions to the policy, including references to signage.
“Thank you for coming out to listen to our, I wouldn’t say concerns, but at least our ideas and concerns,” Byvelds said. “It’s always better to collaborate.”