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Council to discuss closing Union Road

Dianne O'Brien with the Edna Henderson's painting of Union Road some 35 years ago

Council will discuss the temporary closure of approximately 200 metres of Union Road off County Road 2 at Mountain View.
While reports and discussions have been under way since September, the issue has been on the mind of area residents who first complained about the road’s poor condition in 2009.
Staff caution that without remedial work, Union Road may require closure this year in any event due to ongoing deterioration.
Council removed the project from the 2012 budget. The engineer’s report indicated rehabilitation of the 200 metre stretch would cost $360,000. Permanent closure of that portion is estimated at $80,000 which would be brought forward for discussion for the 2013 budget.
At Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, council will review a report of the Public Works Commission recommending temporary closure and that costs for a turn-around at the closure section of Union Road and for road improvements for the balance of the road through to Highway 62 be considered in the 2013 budget.

“Union Road is one of the most beautiful roads in Prince Edward County,” says councillor Dianne O’Brien. “I am definately opposed to any closure. There’s an old schoolhouse, a church and a cemetery on that road. I’m told a closure will also be a hardship on the church that relies on traffic for its pot lucks and craft sales. This road offers a sense of peace and truly symbolizes what Prince Edward County is all about.  Closing Union Road would deny taxpayers the opportunity to go back in history as they travel throughout our County.”
O’Brien will be taking a painting of the road, created some 35 years ago by Edna Henderson, to the council meeting.
“It’s a beautiful painting and the road looks exactly the same as it does in this painting,” she said.
She is also recommending that people opposed to the closure sign a petition located at Gilmours in Rossmore.
Of the four homes in the affected area, O’Brien notes two are for, and two are against the closure.
The report to council shares a summary of comments received from various groups, as requested by the committee of the while in September 2011.
The closure initially arose in 2009 from a petition and deputation from residents of the Mountain View area. As a result, a local traffic study and a road condition assessment report concluded the road was in need of repair due to is deteriorating condition, but a closure would result in minimal impact to traffic.
The public consultation summary indicates the majority of public comment was to keep Union Road open. The Heritage Advisory Committee recommends further research on the road’s history and the option to list it as a cultural heritage landscape.
The traffic advisory committee recommends the road be closed from June 2012 to June 2013 to gauge impact of the closure.
Staff accepts a temporary closure but notes the option is not a solution and just delays the ultimate disposition of the road. However, a temporary closure would be minimal cost for signage and barricades.
“Given the difficult financial burden currently faced by the County, staff can not support spending the relatively large funding required to rehabilitate the southern portion of Union Road in return for the relatively small gain in route travel time.”

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