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Council supports Closson Road for grant application

Council has switched its preference to Closson Road as its choice for a potential $5 million in grant funding.

Following comments from the audience sharing complaints from residents, businesses and tourists about Closson Road, at council Tuesday night, Councillor Ernie Margetson asked colleagues to reconsider supporting Closson Road, over the previously supported County Road 4 project, for Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program funding.

“This choice of project has benefits beyond just the road, he said. “We’re well aware of the economic activity and the benefit of those businesses to Prince Edward County and also the condition of the road… It’s not a good road to drive – by car, or bicycle.”

Council at Committee of the Whole had approved staff’s recommendation to apply for a grant for work on County Road 4 from the Millennium Trail and Talbot Street to Highway 62. The project includes a bridge on County Road 4 near the Hwy 62 intersection that is in poor condition. Staff had chosen County Road 4 as the project that best fit grant criteria, but noted there was a good argument for Closson Road.

Closson Road work is in the capital plan for reconstruction in 2022 at a cost of approximately $2.75 million. Combined with a $1.5 million project on County Road 2, set for 2021, the total project would approach the $5 million maximum for the grant with a municipal contribution of $708,475.

Robert McAuley, Acting CAO, said both roads need repair, noting “You’re trading one bad road off for another bad road, and Picton certainly has the volume of traffic and just as much of an impact on your ability to deliver for development as anything else.”

McAuley said that once the policy for asset management is put in place later this year, he hopes council will be engaged, before the budget, “to establish priorities by which we select roads that we can all agree to.”

A strategy for crushed asphalt and grading for Closson has been under discussion, said McAuley, to avoid making the road gravel, which he said is not a solution by any means, and brings other problems, but could buy time before full reconstruction if Closson is not accepted for funding.

He added it could also be a strategy to “band-aid” other roads in great need of repair. A funding plan for that would need to be approved by council.

Councillor Janice Maynard supported the switch as County Road 4 was not on the project list for reconstruction.

Councillor Phil St-Jean said traffic numbers (4,000 cars daily) on County Road 4 outweigh Closson, and while he is ashamed of the condition of Closson, he felt County Road 4 was still the most appropriate project.
Support for Closson Road came in at 7 to 6 votes. The County must apply for the grant by May 14.

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    Really not a good idea County Rd 4 is the worst in the county and is used all year round as Closson Rd is a tourist road

  2. Susan says:

    This flip flop makes no sense for County residents commuting to work everyday. Good for tourism however.

  3. Nigel Sivel says:

    Well done council on your decision to rebuild Closson road. This has been a much needed project for years.

  4. Rob #2 says:

    You wonder if the 2022 plan was simply unreasonable from the start. Obviously that is a significant expense but somewhere along the line it must have been believed that Closson Road could wait that long.

    But it is not hard to imagine the challenge in just how much you can milk out of some of these surface treated roads, particularly at this time of the year when you see the effects of the previous winter. We all could list roads that are bad but take a look right now at Potter Road and see the degree of crumbling that occurred on it in the last 2-3 weeks. It is hard to imagine that parts of this road won’t need some sort of emergency repair this year as well. There are likely many others in the County that are in the same boat.

    Mr. McAuley has presented a solution to hold Closson Road over until 2022 through some combination of crushed asphalt and gravel. While this may not be ideal it is an effort at a solution which I personally applaud him for pursuing.

    Given the traffic volumes on the two roads I think the initial plan of County Road 4 makes much more sense than Closson Road at this time provided remedial work as Mr. McAuley described can be done now on Closson Road. All you can ask for out of elected officials and administrators is that they present solutions where possible with the hope of an acceptable compromise. That looks to have been done here by the administrative side. Council deserves scrutiny on this one.

  5. k.b. says:

    Marc, don’t assume I hate wineries just because I disagree with this decision. I’m relying on common sense – Something the COUNCIL lost. I don’t think it’s fair to citizens, visitors or tax payors to be fighting among one another – coming together demonstrates strength. Time to start supporting unity if we want the council to address our needs.

  6. kevin says:

    DEAR COUNCIL: You should’ve stuck with their first choice. This sets a dangerous precedent in the decision making process. It’s unfortunate that issues like this divide the way we think. I feel like we are left at the bottom, fighting over scraps and left overs. ALL roads need attention, ALL roads are important however these ones in poor condition shouldn’t have to battle it out for funding and attention. Just fix the ROADS please, and stop pitting the residents, tourists and businesses against each other. In the meantime, council loses credibility.

  7. sue says:

    If we are loud enough and complain a lot, could we convince them to change their mind – again? I don’t understand why and how residents are tolerating this behavior from council.

  8. Marc Keelan-Bishop says:

    Smart decision. Yes, lots of people hate wineries for some reason, but if that many of any other kind of business was on a road that bad, i bet they’d be fine with fixing it.

  9. Dave says:

    Have any on you nay sayers tried to drive down Closson road at over 15 or 20 Km per hour—good luck

  10. Argyle says:

    Yup, cater to the tourist, wineries and hipster Welly. What’s next, adding street lights ? Just unbelievable.

  11. Mike Rodgers says:

    Just like the town hall
    Squeaky wheel

  12. BV says:

    Is this some sort of joke? 7 council members should be ashamed.

  13. Susan says:

    This was a political flip flop. Cty Rd 4 meets more criteria to succeed in acquiring funding and is crucial in getting people to work.

  14. Paul Cole says:

    Another council willing to put tourism ahead of County Folk real needs. County Road 4 between Picton and County Road 34 has been deteriorating longer then some of the wineries on Closson Road have been running…

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