CHRISTOPHER GREEN The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Township of Uxbridge held a public information meeting at the Uxbridge Seniors Centre, on Wednesday, February 28th. The meeting was meant to inform citizens about the process to replace significant portions of culvert in Uxbridge, particularly along Brock Street.
According to the township's Director of Public Works, Ben Kester, the 200 metre culvert is being replaced, due to deterioration. Parts of the current culvert were built in the 1970s, and there are parts of it which were built over a hundred years ago.
Another reason for the construction project, is to help reduce flooding. Culvert capacity is based upon the 'regional storm', that is, the possible flood levels that could be reasonably anticipated for this area. Unless these measures are taken, and a flood the size of the regional storm occurs, much of the lower level of Brock Street would be under water.
Construction is expected to begin in July, running for a year. The streets affected will be Brock Street and Centennial Drive, but they will not be closed at the same time. Detour routes are being worked on. Extra parking has been finalized at the old fire hall and more areas are being looked at. The streets will remain open to pedestrian traffic throughout the whole process.
The Business Improvement Association (B.I.A.) is brainstorming ways to encourage customer engagement with local businesses during this time.
“One of the concerns is keeping the public engaged, keeping people shopping.” said Elaine Leigh, Business Facilitator for the B.I.A. “It could happen two ways. The road will be closed at some point, so it could bring more foot traffic, or it could have the opposite effect. The businesses have to come up with their plans, but we will work with them to see if we can come up with events or ideas that will keep people engaged. My strongest feeling is [for] local residents to encourage shopping local.”
Two organizations directly affected by this construction, will be Uxbridge Shoe Repair, as well the Uxbridge Youth Centre. Their building will be demolished. The Uxbridge Youth Centre, will be sharing a space in the Uxbridge Seniors Centre, before construction begins.
The project has had a rapid progression, and the township feels it is important to keep residents apprised of these developments.
Township Communications Officer, Colleen Baskin, said in an email, “The plans are coming together very well and more decisions are being made almost daily as we finalize how this project will unfold.”
To help answer calls and questions, Project Coordinator, Mike Wilson, has come along side Ben Kester.
Mr. Wilson said, “There's been a tonne of misinformation. Why that happens, who knows. I just happened to be in one of the shops a couple of days ago, and the guy said to me, 'Oh is this project still costing 25 million?' I don't know where that number came from. I don't know anybody whose talked about it being that order of magnitude. It's in and around the 10 or 11 million dollar range, but this project is not a 25 million dollar project.” Mr. Wilson said.
He went on to reassure The Standard that he is there for those with questions, “I answer [my phone] pretty regularly. And if I don't answer it ... I'll just call back. I don't know how many phone calls I've had, probably a couple hundred.”
If you have any questions regarding the culvert project, call 905-852-9181 extension 255, or call Mr. Wilson's cellular phone, at 416-788-7576.
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