East Ferris balks at major road upgrade … for now

·3 min read

East Ferris tweaked the official status of One Mile Road this week but council pumped the brakes when it came to further service upgrades.

Mayor Pauline Rochefort told interested residents, some of whom attended the Tuesday meeting in person, that council will wait to see if the subdivision plan and its approval gets a green light from the Local Property Appeal Tribunal.

In the meantime, council asked staff to go forward with design and costing so they can consider the financial estimate for the 2021 budget.

The road actually stretches 1.5 kilometres with the bulk of it a straight line from MacPherson Drive before turning west along the Trout Lake shoreline. It serves 14 homes.

Technically, the only concrete change was that it went from municipal property residents use and maintain on their own to an “open but unmaintained municipal road” they still have to maintain.

A delegation last year to council said they have combined resources to maintain the previously private road for decades with an estimate of $75,000 invested. They want municipal services extended in return for their combined waterfront taxation for years.

The circumstances of the road changed quickly after the property became a municipal asset in 2015 and a 25-lot subdivision was approved last year. Because six lots front One Mile, developer Marcel Degagne will be required to bring the road to municipal standards – but only to the end of the subdivision lots and not the rest of the way to the existing residential property owners.

Residents have been pressing council hard beginning Spring 2019 to assume responsibility and deliver services while upgrading and maintaining the full road. They also want curbside pickup of garbage and recycling.

There was opposition to the subdivision proposal before it was approved with Centennial Crescent and MacPherson Drive residents concerned about traffic and fire safety issues. Pedestrian traffic is heavy and there are no sidewalks. Staff said they expected a 12 per cent increase in traffic volume when all lots were filled. There was an 89-signature petition presented and eventually, a resident took the subdivision approval to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. The hearing was scheduled in February 2020 but was canceled before the pandemic log-jammed the system. A staff report to council stated a new date hasn’t been set.

Some One Mile Road residents are stuck in a holding pattern looking for the matter to be resolved because pending property sales require updated surveys. An upgrade to a municipal two-lane road will take up more property.

Staff said a survey report was expected to be completed by December.

A report to council quotes engineer Antoine Boucher saying preliminary assessment has shown the road needs “a lot of work” and will be expensive.

“The first phase would be costly,” he said, “and the second phase would be a much greater amount.”

Part of MacPherson Road may also need to be widened to bring it up to municipal standard as well.

The development plan features estate-size lots 2.5 to 5 acres in size. A 2-2 tied vote at council April 9 defeated the development plan but after it came up for reconsideration March 23, it passed 4-1.

Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter working with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca