Midland ‘Big Dig’ project cements OGRA concrete award

·3 min read

As if council’s constant praise of the new downtown Midland appearance wasn’t enough, now it’s received an award too.

Engineering manager Mitch Sobil held up the 2021 Municipal Concrete Award during a recent meeting of Midland regular council, to smiles and applause from members of council and staff.

“Earlier this week, I had the privilege of attending the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) annual conference, (the) first one back since COVID,” explained Sobil.

“My attendance was there for a real specific reason: the Town of Midland as well as Tatham Engineering and Arnott Construction were honoured to receive… the 2021 Municipal Concrete Award through the association.

“We have the hardware in our possession,” Sobil added with a laugh, holding aloft the award for council members to see.

OGRA is a not-for-profit organization, which has served Ontario municipalities for over a hundred years, mandated for the advancement of infrastructure and transportation interests through training, advocacy and various services.

The Municipal Concrete Award is awarded annually alongside the Municipal Paving Award at the conference, to promote and recognize successful collaborations between municipalities and hot mix asphalt producers, for excellence and innovation in concrete and paving projects in Ontario.

“The project that won us this was the King Street Rejuvenation project and the use of concrete; the coloured concrete, the crosswalks, the unit pavers, and ultimately the construction downtown – and during a pandemic to boot,” added Sobil. “And they did use our phrase ‘on time and on budget’ in the presentation as well.”

Originally budgeted by council for $14 million, the town saved $700,000 by the completion of the project last year which tore up the aged infrastructure of King Street from Bayshore Drive to Yonge Street, replacing the road and sidewalks with underground infrastructure, a flexible configuration road alignment for street parking and events, and mountable curbs and upgraded traffic signals.

Thanks were given not only to Tatham Engineering and Arnott Construction Ltd., but to the town and volunteers who helped with the project.

CAO David Denault, calling the effort “absolutely stellar work”, additionally thanked the town’s finance and engineering teams, council for providing approval of the project, and the downtown businesses who were most affected during the disruption.

“We now get the benefits of being able to use that beautiful downtown we have,” noted Denault. “And hopefully as we recover through the pandemic, we’ll see even more people throughout downtown Midland.”

Sobil felt honoured for his part in winning the award, adding: “we look forward to trying to win many more for the town”.

Later in the meeting, the appointment of Sarah Cathcart to town deputy clerk was announced as council members shared words of greeting, including Deputy Mayor Mike Ross who offered the popular council catchphrase: “Welcome to Team Midland”.

Denault piped in with: “If I may, I think it’s probably appropriate given what Mitch announced earlier today, you can always refer to us as ‘the award winning’ Team Midland.”

“I love that,” laughed Ross. “The award winning town of Midland. We’ll get to put that award on everyone’s business card as well.”

Coun. Bill Gordon quipped, “How many years did we do the Communities in Bloom? We milked that for at least a decade.”

Council meetings are held every third Wednesday, and can be attended virtually through Zoom by contacting the clerk’s department of Midland town hall for a link to the meeting.

Council meetings can also be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53, or through the livestream on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available through Rogers TV and on the Town of Midland’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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