Gravel Road. (Photo by © Can Stock Photo / janka3147)

Chatham-Kent To Look At Road Upgrade Policies, Procedures

Property owners in Chatham-Kent will soon have a proper procedure in place for requesting road upgrades.

Councillor Joe Faas’ original motion requested that Chatham-Kent Infrastructure and Engineering Services (IES) bring a report back to council and residents regarding requests to fix Snye Rd., Seys Line, and Island View Rd. in North Kent.

However, Faas says by talking to the engineering department, he discovered the municipality currently does not have a policy or procedure in place for property owners requesting local road upgrades.

He decided to bring back a revised motion to Monday night’s council meeting, which was approved 16-0. The motion requests that IES develop a policy and procedure for local road upgrades that can be initiated by property owners, which will include following:

  1. Up-front funding requirements related to structure and drainage, as well as recommendations to fund these initial investments
  2. A proposal to determine fair and equitable cost sharing and on-going life-cycle funding
  3. Available financing options
  4. A defined petition form and conditions for a valid petition
  5. Any other matters the IES deems necessary
  6. A report comes back to council for approval with recommendations to address local road upgrades no later than June 2018
  7. Snye Rd., Seys Line, and Island View Rd. must be the first roads to be considered using the council approved policy and procedure.

Faas says in order to consider these road upgrades, a policy or procedure needs to be developed.

“This was sort of an isolated request to start with, but then other people have asked for similar consideration,” explains Faas. “Not having a process in place, we felt that something has to be in place and hopefully that’ll come back to council and sort of solve that issue.”

Faas says the municipality already has a similar situation with the water lines in the rural area.

“If anybody in the rural area wants a water line, they have a petition process to go through. They have to get a percentage of the property owners to agree with it,” says Faas. “Once they get that percentage then they present their criteria to the residents. The residents then have a chance to vote to see whether they’re still interested in it.”

Faas says if the water lines project receives support from 66% of residents, it gets the green light.

For a policy involving road improvements, Faas says the property owners will likely be the ones footing the bill.

“It being a local improvement, it would probably be the property owners that would be financing it… because of it being in a specific area, it’s hard to impose a penalty on the rest of the community when they’re not the ones benefitting from it,” he says.

According to Faas, there are processes in place, similar to the water lines procedure, where there is financing available and residents can just put it on their taxes.

Faas says it is also hard to predict how much money each project costs until the municipality takes a look at it. He says the other issue is determining the condition of the road to make sure it is suitable enough to handle the upgrade.