Road Maintenance—poor decision making

How do you set priorities when you don’t have enough money to do everything?  Like many municipalities King has a huge backlog of road maintenance projects; I suspect our situation is particularly acute as we are responsible for a lot of local roads but our population base is small.  Over the years road maintenance in King has been ignored as long as possible.

To enable our priority setting we had a roads needs assessment conducted in spring 2011; from that there was definition of top 10 priorities.  Not surprisingly, we are unable to fund all 10.  But, very surprisingly we are doing none of the top 10!  55% ($300,000) of our budget for road maintenance is being allocated to provide surface treatment to the 8th concession south of Hwy 9 down to 15h SDRD. This road was assessed as being of  relatively low priority for work.

My opposition to this plan is about the principle, or lack thereof, in the decision making.  I do not agree with the stated rationale:  to return the road to the state it was prior to being pulverized two years ago.  Background:  the pulverization occurred because the road had deteriorated to the point that it could no longer be “patched” and no other solution was financially feasible; the Council of the day committed to surfacing when possible.  Since then some residents on the road have been delighted with being on a gravel road as there is less traffic; others are very distressed as their road had been paved and there is now more risk of damage to cars.

We passed a 2011 budget with a tax increase lower than I believed was necessary.  We have a backlog of road maintenance possibly as great as $20 million.  By favouring the 8th we are not doing the identified priority maintenance on several roads. Yes, the intent was stated to return to previous state; but no provisions were made to enable this.  What do we tell the residents on 16h SDRD between Jane and Keele as to why their road is not getting required maintenance? This is not the way to make decisions. What else was included in the top 10?

I also disagree with a Staff recommendation that identified work on the 17th SDRD between Dufferin and Keele not be done as there is potential for uploading the road to York Region.  I acknowledge that there is some basis for accusing King of previously solving our inability to maintain our roads by uploading them to the Region; but before we do so again I would like to see us define a strategy for our roads versus continuing a pattern of piecemeal decision making.

I fully agree with the Staff recommendation to not take any action on several top 10 projects for several reasons including the reality that they are currently far beyond our financial capability.  The 45% of the budget not assigned to the 8th has been distributed across several projects identified by the Staff.

Along with Councillors Mortelliti and Eek I voted against the recommendation to give priority to the 8th concession.  To see all the projects for 2011, click here.

To see the whole report

Finally….as this is an important issue in my mind I am including it in my electronic page entitled voting record.  If you haven’t looked at this feature on my website you might want to check it out now.

2 Responses to “ “Road Maintenance—poor decision making”

  1. Sheila Comisso says:

    Do us a favour in the Hunter’s Green Community throughway whose users of the the GO Station live anywhere else other than King City. Please pulverize our roads as the state they are in now are worse than anything you will find in cottage country. We think a new traffic calming device might be crumbly roads; ours is 35 years old and looking very weary. We pay a small fortune in property tax but we all ask for what? No house to house mail. No sewer or water hook-ups, poor street lighting and at best an indescribable road network which bears little of no resemblance to current 2011 road standards. And, this is coming from an “estate” community that the Township is counting on to front the tax burden of the Township And, we ask ourselves for what?

    • Debbie says:

      Hello Sheila,
      I doubt that you were serious with your suggestion of pulverising your road as a traffic calming measure; but, indeed, gravel roads do tend to have less traffic. As I indicated in my post about a decision re: road maintenacne, some residents on 8th concession welcomed their road becoming gravel as traffic did drop off. We do recognize that we need to change how we are running the Township; current strategies are not satisfying alot of people..including you. That is why we have embarked on the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan; we need to address the 4 areas: environmental, socio-cultural, finance and economic. To go off and encourage any new business to locate here with out attention to the environment is not the right solution either.

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