SCUGOG: Despite being turned down once already, township staff will again request provincial infrastructure funding to be put toward the reconstruction of a stretch of Ashburn Rd.
The direction from councillors this week came following a deputation from members of the Ashburn Road Action Group, comprised of several Ward 1 residents living on or near Ashburn Rd., who are concerned with the state of the roadway, of which two stretches – between Townline Rd. and Marsh Hill Rd. – are in the township’s top 10 of roadways most in need of repair. While the group had requested that the township allocate the money for the fixes in the township’s 2014 budget, several councillors and staff were quick to point out that the cost of the repairs, estimated by Public Works Director Ian Roger to be in excess of $2 million, could not be borne by the municipality alone and offered a compromise.
"At least five kilometers have been terribly neglected over the past 20 years and has deteriorated to an unsafe and unsightly state," said Ashburn Road Action Group spokesperson Charles Monk, adding that a petition circulated by the group in favour of the repairs garnered more than 214 signatures. "There are a lot of concerned and angry residents in the southwest quadrant of Scugog because of that road. One section is almost entirely filled potholes. The cold patch is not tamped down and the result is a bump instead of a pothole. It’s a very busy and important commuter route between Scugog and Whitby. The 407 extension will finish in the next couple of years and that will put even more traffic on the road. In its current state, Ashburn Rd. in Scugog reflects poorly on Scugog Township as a whole, the butt of jokes and derision. Cyclists even post special signs during rallies to beware of the road’s condition."
According to CAO Bev Hendry, the Ontario government recently announced another intake of applications to the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative (MIII) fund, with a deadline of Nov. 1. Despite a turnaround time of less than one month (the township was informed on Oct. 4, said M. Hendry) and the rejection of the township’s last application for funding to help with Ashburn Rd., Ms. Hendry suggested reapplying. Mr. Roger later explained that the previous application was for repairs to the entire length of the road and suggested instead to apply for help with fixing only the worst stretches.
"You’re not alone," said Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew, serving as acting mayor for the discussion. "Not to diminish what the residents of Ashburn Rd. are going through, but many of our roads are in need of repairs, due to Ontario moving away from funding such projects. We tried once and will try again and hopefully this time we’ll be successful."