Jeff Heuchert email@example.com
Private home owners whose properties abut Matilda Street from Galt Road south to the Roadhouse Drain will be on the hook for $172,000 in infrastructure improvements if the city chooses to proceed with a series of storm sewer and road upgrades.
The work would be completed as a Local Improvement project under the Municipal Act, and include installation of a storm sewer, spot repairs and manhole replacement to the sanitary sewer, water main replacement, construction of a new road with curbs and gutter, and a new sidewalk on the east side of the street.
Under the cost-sharing arrangement, the residents would be responsible for 60 per cent of the overall costs to upgrade the road and storm sewer, while the city would cover the remaining 40 per cent. The remaining work would be paid entirely by the municipality, which has committed $700,000 in the 2014 engineering budget for the project.
Before proceeding the city must first apply and receive approval from the Ontario Municipal Board to pass a Local Improvement charges bylaw. The city must also send out notices to the residents who will be affected in advance.
At Wednesday's public works subcommittee meeting, a recommendation was supported and sent to council asking that staff be authorized to proceed with the notification process.
"The public will have a say (about the project) at that time," said director of Infrastructure and Development Services for the city, Ed Dujlovic, who noted the notices will contain the property owner's cost for the work and other information.
Dujlovic warned, however, progress could be stalled for up to two years if a majority of the residents oppose the project.
It wouldn't be the first time. The city ran into opposition when it last attempted to proceed with a new storm sewer on Matilda Street in 1991. The project was referred to that year's budget but council decided not to proceed after enough residents objected.
Public works chair, Coun. Kerry McManus, said she was "feeling optimistic" about the project moving forward 23 years after it was first proposed, and suggested it was overdue given the west-end road's proximity to two high schools and a daycare.
Property owners sharing in the cost can typically choose either to pay their portion up front or have the amount added to their tax bill for up to 10 years. The cost for each home owner hasn't yet been determined. The value is assessed based on the property's frontage to the road. A property owner unhappy with their cost can appeal to the OMB.
As part of the proposal, public works staff will look at the possibility of constructing a road wider than the standard 8.5 metres to accommodate a bike lane. That request was made by Coun. George Brown, who argued Matilda Street needs to be more accessible.