Monday, December 9, 2013

Budgets Mean More Improvements in 2014

Since Town Council approved our 2014 Capital Budget last week and Regional Council is set to approve our 2014 Operating, Capital, and Rate budgets this week, I wanted to inform you about some major improvements planned for Pelham next year.

“Uptown Fonthill” Reconstruction:
Regional Council’s 2014 Capital Budget includes $4.0 million (including nearly $1 million from the Town) to reconstruct Regional Road 20 from Peachtree Park to Lookout Street, and to reconstruct Haist Street from Canboro Road to RR20. The works will include adding bikelanes, adding new sidewalks, upgrading the watermain, road reconstruction (including a turning lane to Haist Street North), and a new traffic signal. Regional staff hopes to begin work in early-spring and be done in early-September. Because of significant developments between Haist and Lookout on Hwy 20, I refer to this area as “Uptown Fonthill.”

Downtown Fenwick Revitalization:
While Council budgeted funds to revitalize Downtown Fenwick in 2013, staff ran into delays with design, with added work (storm sewer to Church Street) and with utilities. In 2014 we budgeted $4.0 million to reconstruct the roads, bury the hydro lines, and make the Downtown more pedestrian friendly. The consulting engineers will meet with the public on December 19 to review the final design with the hope that work can begin in early-spring. Council directed staff to ensure as little negative impact on Downtown businesses as possible.

Peace Park:
Council earmarked funds to landscape and improve Peace Park so that the overwhelming success of the Fonthill Bandshell, the Farmer's Market, and Summerfest can grow. The plan includes tiered seating (for lawn chairs) around the Bandshell, fully-accessible internal pathways, enhancing the cenotaph, and opening-up the park for more multi-use activities. Council directed staff to ensure these improvements do not interfere with the June start of the Bandshell.

East Fonthill & Port Robinson Road:
As you know, the Town has been planning for growth and development in the East Fonthill area for several years. This area includes +450 acres from Regional Road 20 and south along Rice Road, past Merritt Road. The area could accommodate 5,000 people over the next 20-25 years and includes significant commercial / mixed use lands along Hwy 20. Council insists on a great development that is walkable, cyclable, fully integrated to Downtown Fonthill and existing neighbourhoods, and adds to our small-town feel. The Town will reconstruct Port Robinson Road from Station Street to Rice Road next summer and will begin constructing services and internal roads in late-summer / early-fall.

I look forward to working together with you on these and many other improvements in 2014.