Residents don’t want their gravel road paved in South Stormont; delay by launching ministry appeal

Nation Valley News file photo

LONG SAULT — The planned reconstruction and asphalting of Sunset Drive has run into a procedural roadblock put up by residents opposed to paving the rustic gravel street leading into the tony Moulinette Island neighbourhood.

South Stormont Township has delayed moving ahead on the $600,000 project after a property owner — reported to be acting on behalf of a number of residents — filed an appeal with Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, according to municipal officials.

Township CAO Betty deHaan explained the appeal — a so-called Part II order request — aims to compel the municipality to undertake a Class Environmental Assessment  before proceeding with the project. “The township maintains” an EA isn’t required, said deHaan.

The municipality has been advised it may be a year before the ministry replies on the matter. The project will lay dormant until then,  although the township says that tender documents are being prepared in the meantime.

Deputy Mayor Tammy Hart said the township has wanted to upgrade Sunset Drive for years because of residents’ complaints about the road’s condition. “The majority was asking for the road to be paved,” she said.

The township hosted two public meetings for residents on the proposed roadwork, earlier this year.

Money earmarked for Sunset Drive in 2017 is being re-allocated to other priorities instead — alternatives okayed by council on June 4.

“Due to this unforeseen delay, with the construction season at its peak, we will continue with other capital projects as we want to maximize our resources,” said Mayor Jim Bancroft on behalf of council.

With Sunset Drive off the table for 2017, South Stormont plans to fund:

• surface treatment of Morgan Road ($73,000);

• eleven culverts, and ditching and entrance replacements on Anderson Road, along with granular and surface treatment next year ($170,000);

• nine road-crossing culverts and approximately 3,000 meters of upgrades along Lawson Road ($113,000).

The township also announced any remaining surplus funds will go into reserves for gravel upgrades on certain roads now “under consideration.” These include Sunset Drive, Lakeside Drive and East Island Causeway on Moulinette Island, Delaney Road, Richmond Drive, Willy Allan Road and “other roads as approved by Council.”

Built as a simple gravel road serving a series of modest cottages, the properties along Sunset Drive have since gentrified into one of the highest assessed waterfront housing areas in South Stormont. But the road itself hasn’t changed.

 


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