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County asked to consider assuming Connecting Link through Fergus

by Patrick Raftis

GUELPH - A request from Centre Wellington for the County of Wellington to take over the Highway 6 Connecting Link through Fergus is being studied by county staff.

At the May 24 council meeting roads committee chair councillor Gary Williamson reported a delegation, including Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton and CAO Andy Goldie, outlined the request at the May 8 committee meeting.

“In essence the question was asked whether or not the county would consider taking over the Highway 6 Connecting Link in Fergus and obviously there’s a whole lot of ramifications and items that need to be reviewed,” Williamson explained.

“So the committee referred this for staff to report back to committee.”

The delegation was following up on an Oct. 17, 2017 resolution from Centre Wellington council directing staff to coordinate meetings to request funding from the county and the province for the St. David Street Bridge project currently underway in downtown Fergus.

A Jan. 16 letter from Goldie to county CAO Scott Wilson notes county and township officials met to discuss the request on Dec. 20.

“As we outlined in our meeting the township has received a Connecting Link grant from the Province of Ontario to reconstruct the St. David Street Bridge in 2018,” the letter states.

“Unfortunately the costs to reconstruct the bridge are over the estimated cost submitted as part of the township’s 2016 grant application to the province. Therefore the township is required to fund a higher portion of the bridge reconstruction than anticipated ($289,000).

“During our meeting we noted that this bridge is a major north-south transportation link through Centre Wellington and the County of Wellington and not reconstructing the bridge would create significant economic hardship to many Centre Wellington and County of Wellington residents and businesses.”

The letter also references the county’s policy on reclassification of local roads as county roads.

In May of 2017, county council approved a policy that states when the average annual daily traffic on a local road exceeds the standard to categorize a road as a Class 2 road under the province’s minimum maintenance standards for three consecutive years, the road should be transferred to the county for capital and maintenance requirements.

“We recognize that your position is that the policy adopted in 2017 was not initially intended to include Connecting Links roads,” Goldie notes in his letter.

However, he continued, “We are requesting that the County of Wellington roads committee consider the Township of Centre Wellington’s request to transfer the Highway 6 Connecting Link through Fergus, including the St. David Street Bridge, once reconstructed by the Township, as a County of Wellington road.”

Williamson told the Advertiser he is not aware of any other cases of a Connecting Link being transferred from a lower tier to county level of government under similar circumstances.

He pointed out the 2017 resolution referred specifically to “local” roads.

For related story click here.


June 8, 2018


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