Construction season is upon us once again – but as each year passes Council is dedicating more of your tax dollars toward local roads, over and above the continued work on the main roads.
I recently requested a report from City Administration on progress, which was debated June 26th at Transportation Committee. The report can be accessed here: Multi-year Neighborhood Renewal Report
To put our progress in context, as recent as 2007 the City was only reconstructing one neighbourhood a year. This year the City is beginning reconstruction in six neighbourhoods, and five more next year. We aim to continue this pace of work for the next 10-15 years until we’re caught up.
This program is not only about the older areas. There is preventive maintenance occurring in the 20-40 year-old areas to ensure that the roads and sidewalks hold up for their full life, rather than prematurely deteriorating.
We aim to build a dedicated source of funds to ensure that all neighbourhoods are renewed in a timely fashion. However, this will require a few more years of the 1.5% levy added to the property tax to make the fund sustainable. [I wrote about the decision here to start this work back in 2008.]
Newer Ward 10 neighbourhoods currently slated for repaving and sidewalk maintenance include Keheewin next year and Sweet Grass in 2014. That’s as far out as this preventive work is scheduled, but the plan is to average about 8 neighbourhoods per year. Duggan, Greenfield and Bearspaw received attention last year.
The reconstruction schedule for older neighbourhoods runs out to 2018 and includes Lansdowne in the 2015-2018 window. The most recent report indicated that Allendale, Malmo and Royal Gardens are all high priority for the 2018-2021 timeframe, but specific start times have not been set.
I do hear frustration from neighbourhoods that are still waiting and wonder why. The answer is complex but I the priority is based on the condition of infrastructure (both underground and on the surface) as assessed by engineers whom we expect to be impartial.
The order is not political and Council is not picking winners and losers.
With a little patience the investments will pay off and we will all catch up. That’s better than ‘sometime in the next century’ which was all we could say back in 2007.