The Town of the Blue Mountains held a Special Meeting of Council on Feb. 17 regarding the Grey County Transportation Master Plan (TMP). The goal was for Council to go over the final draft of the report in order to familiarize themselves with the document prior to a March 6 meeting with Grey County.
According to the County’s website, the TMP is “a strategic plan that will direct policies and infrastructure initiatives for the County’s transportation system over the next 25 years”.
Reg Russwurm, the Town’s Director of Engineering and Public Works, was at the podium for the duration of the meeting on Feb. 17, taking those in attendance through a workshop meant to explain the findings of the TMP report.
The study first looked at various County roads within the municipality. A number of criteria were used while evaluating these roads, including the condition of the roads as compared to County standards, and whether or not certain County roads ran parallel to others, making them redundant.
The study suggested that Grey Roads 2, 40, 21 and 19 (from Grey Road 2 to Grey Road 21) remain as County roads.
It went on to suggest, however, that a number of other County roads or sections of roads be downloaded or transferred to the Town, such as Grey Roads 13, 113, 119 and Grey Road 19 (from Grey Road 21 to Hwy. 26).
If these recommendations were to move forward, essentially these County roads would then come under the control of the Town of the Blue Mountains.
“The process would be that the County would pass a bylaw saying that the road has been transferred to the Blue Mountains, and essentially that’s all it takes,” Russwurm said in a follow up interview after the meeting. “Now there are lots of nuances to that. In preparation of that, there would be lots of discussions around if there are any concessions offered, or if the road is upgraded, or any deficiencies are corrected before the transfer happens.”
As the Council discussed these potential transfers at the meeting, a general consensus emerged that there was not enough information at the current time to go forward with any concrete decisions. This mainly centred on the lack of information regarding the financial implications of each option.
“That is the real key,” commented Councillor John McGee. “If we go ahead with this, how would the County treat the reduction in cost, and how would that be peeled back to us? If nothing else, maybe those are some questions for March 6.”
“Without that information, I don’t know how far we can take this,” added Mayor John McKean.
The meeting moved forward with similar discussions pertaining to local bridges, active transportation such as walking and cycling, goods movement, and public transit. Council will have until March 6 to organize their thoughts, and the hope remains that the March 6 meeting will provide them with enough information to move forward with their recommendations.
Following the municipal information session on March 6, a public information session will be held that same evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the County of Grey Administration Building in Owen Sound.
The Town will then have until early May to form a plan of action and respond to these proposals.
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