Saugeen Shores Council Chambers was filled to capacity at the last Council meeting on July 9th as Southampton residents from the neighbourhood of Chantry View Drive filled the room.
They were there to voice their concerns about the town’s proposed reconstruction to bring the street up to what is considered ‘urban standard’.
Resident John Harding said that residents were content to not have ‘urban standards’. “Most residents do not want ‘urban standards’. We are quite prepared to live with what we have and that’s what we enjoy.”
Another resident questioned why the road was being paved when it doesn’t need paving. He also said that many would like to see the project deferred until the Transportation Master Plan is approved.
The residents said that they felt the changes would result in increased speed by traffic and would cause a safety issue for pedestrians and cyclists.
Southampton Councilor Cheryl Grace also asked that the project decision be deferred until the Transportation Master Plan is approved. “This is a main street to the beach and is directly connected to Huron Street,” said Grace. “The condition of the asphalt does not warrant reconstruction. It makes sense to look at the site holistically and how it fits in with the neighbourhood. There may also be other options for safety and there may be a more economical option.”
In the meantime, town staff completed a review of the budget amount compared to the tendered values in order to determine the cause of the discrepancy of an increase of $90,000. The first consideration is the delayed construction time from the date of the estimate.
Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau said that it is difficult to hold the project to the original 2017 budget given inflation of road construction and therefore there is justification for the $90,000 increase. “There was considerable public consultation about this that resulted in some changes that actually added to the increased cost.”
Saugeen Shores is experiencing increased construction costs by 30% in the last year. There is also an increased scope of work included in the final design for storm sewer and infiltration galleries to accommodate a concern raised by residents during the consultation process.
Staff is recommending that the project proceed despite the budget variance. Accordingly, it is proposed that an additional $90,000 be funded out of the Gas Tax surplus to provide sufficient funds to complete the entire scope of work tendered.
In the end, the project with the increase in cost was approved with Vice-Deputy Mayor Diane Huber and Councilor Cheryl Grace opposed.