UXBRIDGE: Continued investment from Durham Region into local infrastructure improvements highlighted Regional Chairman Roger Anderson's annual address to council, which took place at their meeting on the morning of Monday, March 21.
As Mr. Anderson explained, the Region will be spending more than $5 million on the rehabilitation of Regional Roads within Uxbridge this year.
A discussion also took place regarding an upcoming study by the Region to identify roads that could be transferred to Regional Road status, with Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor mentioning that Davis Dr. would be a prime candidate for such a move.
"I totally support the transfer of roads," commented Mayor O'Connor. "I believe that Davis Dr. should've been a part of the network when amalgamation happened in 1974, and I think most now realize that a mistake was made." Mayor O'Connor added that such a move would involve the township assuming Sandford Rd.
As well, Durham is contributing almost $1 million towards preparatory activities for several future projects in the municipality, including the replacement of the Uxbridge Brook culvert through downtown Uxbridge and an Environmental Assessment on a new water source for Uxbridge.
Transit issues also dominated the discussion, with Mr. Anderson noting that "transit is the one area where residents in North Durham don't receive good value for their money from the Region."
However, he did add that several changes are upcoming to provide better connectivity for the residents of Uxbridge, as well as Brock and Scugog Townships, but reiterated that greater investment is needed from the upper levels of government to bring local transit better in line with what's offered in neighbouring regions.
“It's a small step, and we have to take bigger steps," explained Mr. Anderson. "As you know, the issue is funding. York Region will receive more than $1 billion in transit funding over the next four years, while Durham will get $33 million over the same timeframe. We need to be able to move people to where they want to go, not just Oshawa and Pickering, but west to Stouffville and Newmarket."
Ward 1 Councillor Pam Beach pressed the Regional Chair on the need for a different kind of connectivity, mentioning the lack of high-speed internet options for many of Uxbridge's rural residents.
Mr. Anderson explained that work on providing options for expanded high-speed internet are currently being explored by the Region, as well as by the Provincial and Federal governments.
"I can't promise anything, but I can assure you that high-speed internet is being worked on at all levels," Mr. Anderson said.