Harbour Grace wrestles with roadwork priorities
By Chris Lewis | Sept. 3, 2020
There is some roadwork is on the way for Harbour Grace, but not quite as much as council wants.
On Monday night, Aug. 31, council members in the Town of Harbour Grace met virtually for their regularly scheduled meeting. About halfway through that meeting, councillor Shawn Vaters brought up some paving work scheduled for certain areas of the town that had been deemed to be the most taxing on the community’s finances.
Vaters, during the meeting, made a motion to apply to the town’s gas tax funding to upgrade several roads. Those included Cottage Lane, Lemarchent Street to a portion of Water Street, Watts Lane, the south side of Church Road, and Vaters Lane. Vaters said the approximate cost for this work will come to $298,000, but Vaters noted that no breakdown had been made just yet of how that money would be allocated to each road on the list.
That motion was ultimately carried by council, but councillor Kathy Tetford noted near the end of the discussion that she personally would have liked to see more of the town’s smaller roads getting some of this attention as well. This was a sentiment that Vaters himself agreed with.
“I accept what Public Works has put forward. I’m just wondering, if there’s any money left over – or if this comes in a little bit cheaper – then maybe we can look into those other roads. Rogers Lane and French’s Lane, and Parsons Lane in Bear’s Cove are not in very good shape. I don’t think they would be expensive roads, either,” Tetford suggested.
Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams did clarify that those roads are actually on a list of roads to be looked at, and that they are actually expecting the aforementioned work to come in at a smaller cost than the estimated $298,000.
But, as Mayor Don Coombs pointed out, the ones currently slated for roadwork are the ones that, as of right now, are costing the town the most money in terms of annual maintenance and repair work.
He also stated that the plan currently in place for this project is to reach out to neighbouring municipalities to collaborate on roadwork projects in an effort to save money. That money, he said, can be spent on the other roads that don’t take up such a sizable chunk of the community’s infrastructure budget.
“Yes, that’s the plan,” Vaters confirmed.
Although the plan as it stands seemed to be agreeable to council, councillor Lyda Byrne did note that she had some concerns despite agreeing to go ahead with the work.
“One of those roads is a pretty new area with about four households there, and has service lots that will be sold in the future. That means that the paving we put down is going to be dug up. Another one – Watts Lane – doesn’t that one have conditions to that being installed in the beginning? Wasn’t one of the conditions that we weren’t paying the upkeep of it?” Byrne questioned.
It was clarified by Tetford that there were in fact a number of stipulations laid out for that road, and that one of those stipulations outlined the responsibility of maintenance.
“The residence that was built there was off a serviced road, and I think there were a lot of conditions put in there because of that,” she said, adding that she has some concerns of her own regarding some of the roads on the approved list. She said she would like to see some clarification that there is ditching and other related roadwork included in the figures for some of the roads that were susceptible to water run-off issues – one of the concerns expressed by council during the initial discussions of this roadwork.
Williams did clarify however that plenty of ditching work had been done since those conversations took place, likely eliminating the need for any further such work.
“I have no objection to and certainly don’t want to undercut our public works supervisor’s recommendations, I just want to be sure that, as council, we’re looking after the right projects,” Byrne later added. “There are a lot of streets that are accessed more – Martin’s Lane, for example. Not fit to drive on.”
Council came to the mutual agreement at the meeting that, if this work proves to be less expensive than anticipated, roads like Martin’s Lane and Parsons Lane will get the attention council feels they need.
The motion to carry through with the plan was carried unanimously by council following the discussion.