UXBRIDGE: Stuck at an impasse in negotiations to purchase a downtown property to make way for a new culvert, the township will be changing course for the project with a new environmental assessment.
In a report to councillors presented at their meeting on Monday, May 9, Uxbridge Public Works director Ben Kester explained that the municipality has been unable to come to terms with the owner of 30 Brock St. West, which will require a revised environmental assessment to explore options for realignment of the culvert's path. Once completed, this will be the third EA undertaken by the municipality since 2012.
In spite of the new work needed, construction is still slated to begin in 2018, although the township will be spending an additional $40,000 on new plans.
"It probably won't affect the timeline, but unfortunately we are going to have to spend some more money," Ward 3 Councillor Dave Barton told The Standard.
The project, which will alleviate flooding concerns in the event of a major storm, has been in the works since the mid-1980s when the first reports were made regarding the inadequate size and advanced age of the culvert.
“It's just old, it's structurally deficient in some areas and for that reason it needs to be replaced," expalined Mr. Kester. "If we received a regional storm, such as Hurricane Hazel, engineers have calculated that the water would be seven feet deep across Brock St."
The project is expected to take a year to complete and will involve Brock St. being closed for significant periods of time. The scope of work will also include beautication efforts to transform Uxbridge's downtown area.
"We have one kick at the can with this.This culvert hopefully won't be replaced for another 100 years. We want to make sure whatever we do, we do to the best of our ability and to have a lasting impact on the township," explained Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor.
The restoration work on the downtown core is still in the planning stages, with Mayor O'Connor adding that the municipality is investigating all available options, and will be seeking input from residents and business owners.
"I think we need to look at what we can do with the land behind Mac's Milk, is there anything we can do to enhance that? Are we going to put in a pedestrian bridge where you could look into Centennial Park, because there's a beautiful parkette down there and right now it's hidden."