East Ferris is cashing in on its extra gas tax funding to repave a longer section of Lake Nosbonsing Road this summer. But the addition of shoulder lanes for cyclists and pedestrians will have to come later when ‘active transportation’ funding becomes available – and if Callander gets onboard for its section.
The tender for a 2.4-kilometre road resurfacing project between Astorville Road and the former CN rail line is going out this week with an April 20 deadline following a special meeting of East Ferris council Wednesday. Municipal engineer Antoine Boucher estimates the cost to be just north of $800,000 while chief executive officer and treasurer Jason Trottier said they have funding in place to cover it.
Trottier said the doubling of the gas tax share for 2021 gives them $604,870 and there’s $185,650 to be carried over from 2020, plus $50,000 from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund allotment.
Boucher and Trottier said they want to get the tender out now to get in the construction schedule queue and better pricing with Deputy Mayor Steve Trahan, public works committee chairman, saying the cost for everything is rising by the month.
Boucher said paving the shoulders would add about $170,000 to the project if it’s done at the same time but noted it would be a path to nowhere at this point. He said the East Ferris section west of the former CN railway line and Callander’s 1.2-km section to Wasi Corners doesn’t have paved shoulders.
Boucher also said his estimate of $71,000 per km is only for the price of asphalt with the crews already there for the road project and the cost would be higher if done as a separate ‘retrofit’ project.
Mayor Pauline Rochefort said paved shoulders is a high priority for residents, as noted in the community safety and wellness plan. She’s chairing an active transportation committee just now forming to meet for the first time May 3. It’s coming under the parks, recreation and culture committee chaired by Councillor Rick Champagne.
Members of the committee include co-chair Rod Bilz of Discovery Routes, Mike Burke, retired City of North Bay solicitor and cyclist/marathon enthusiast, cyclist OPP Sgt. Shona Camirand, jogger Tim Foster, walkers Bruce McShane and Denise Beaupre, and municipal staff Greg Kirton and Jenna Cowden. Developing community road standards is part of the mandate, she said.
Recognizing the movement is not quite in parallel with the time-frame of the repaving project and available funding, Rochefort said they can explore ways to move forward as united communities. She noted that Callander is in a similar mindset with a paved shoulder concept implemented when the Hwy. 11 B section between Hwy. 94 and Wasi corners was done last year.
Councillor Terry Kelly and Champagne supported getting an idea on the pricing using this tender by asking for a paved shoulder option as a costing exercise.
That would give them and Callander an idea what they’re looking at if they join forces on a separate funding application. Kelly said it would give both communities a better position to capitalize on the growing ‘bike tourism’ industry.
Councillor Erika Lougheed said paved shoulders and a focus on active transportation improves the community’s “livability” and makes East Ferris more valuable.
Contacted after the meeting, Burke said the two communities are heading in the right direction when it comes to paved shoulders on primary roads for cycling with opportunities for more.
“East Ferris and Callander have shown remarkable foresight, safety awareness and responsibility in adding paved shoulders to their major cycling routes,” he said. “There are certainly other very scenic loops, which could be added, as circumstances permit.”
Writer, photographer and proud father. My mom’s family is from the Soo with its Algoma Highlands, dad hailed from Cobden in the Ottawa Valley and I spent my teen years in Capreol. Summers were at the beach on the Vermillion River and winters at ‘The Rink.’ Born in East York but Toronto never was my thing. Ever since a kid looking out the window on long trips, I imagined living on the highway in a little house with a big yard and trees growing all around me.