Oshawa approves $5.93 million in trail and street infrastructure improvements

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Published March 1, 2022 at 8:21 am

Oshawa Council has approved four infrastructure projects in its trail and street system – pending success from federal funding applications – and delayed three others which were trying to “jump the queue.”

Staff had recommended the reconstruction of a portion of the Oshawa Creek Trail to meet accessibility standards ($431,000); the design of a trail linking Esterbrook Drive and Conlin Rd. E in the north end ($2.5 million); the paving of the Michael Starr Trail from Hillcroft Road to Mary Street ($2.3 million); and Phase 4 of the Downtown Streetscape project, from Centre Street to McMillan Drive ($700,000).

The four projects total $5.93 million, with nearly $3.6 million of that to be funded through a federal government infrastructure program called the Active Transportation Fund.

Three other projects – lighting on another section of the Michael Starr Trail, lighting on the Harmony Creek Trail extension and the replacement of a portion of the walkway at Lakeview Park, were added to the wish list at committee two weeks ago but were voted down at Monday’s Council meeting.

Two of them were voted down, anyway. Councillor Brian Nicholson managed to separate the $740,000 Lakeview Park project in the hopes he could get approval at a later date.

The Michael Starr lighting proposal was rejected because staff noted it would delay other projects, while lighting for the Harmony Creek Trail extension was put off after councillors learned the project wouldn’t get started until 2024 because design work had yet to be done and permits would need to be re-submitted.

Councillor Bob Chapman, who made the “jumping the queue” quote, also noted the projects would likely not be ready to meet the viability requirements for federal funding.

Councillor Rosemary McConkey took umbrage at Chapman’s comments, however, saying the Harmony Trail lighting project has been on the list for years. “It would be absolutely egregious not to have lighting there,” she said, adding the proximity of the trail to Delpark Homes Centre means it is in use after dark often. “It makes perfect sense.”

Councillor John Neal agreed, saying safety should be council’s “major priority.”

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