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Millions needed to repair, upgrade Wellesley infrastructure

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New report outlining inventory and assessing condition will be needed in applying for provincial, federal funding

Wellesley needs to find another $3.3 million over the next decade to maintain the current quality of its roads, bridges and sewers, according to a new report discussed Monday night at council chambers.

The detailed inventory and assessment study provides the township not only with a status report, but will help it when it makes funding requests to senior levels of government, John Kerr, a project manager with Gamsby and Mannerow Ltd. who prepared the report, told councillors.

“On average, over the next 10 years we have a shortfall of $3.3 million that if we do not obtain through other means we will have difficulty then maintaining that level of service for roads, bridges and sewers,” he said, noting many municipalities are facing infrastructure deficits and are calling on the provincial and federal governments to provide a predictable stream of revenue.

The document’s scope encompasses Wellesley’s core public works assets, comparing future repairs and replacement with available funds. All Ontario municipalities will need to pass an asset management plan before December 31 if they wish to submit future applications for such infrastructure funding. Evidence of sound future planning through the assessment will help justify future applications for government funds, Kerr explained.

Roads represent more than 75 per cent of the public works asset value, while Wellesley’s bridges are valued at about $25 million, with approximately $6 million in culverts and sewers.

“For roadways it’s nice to see that the majority of your roads are good, satisfactory or even fair. There are some paved roads that are still below that.”

There are some 78 transportation related structures – bridges and culverts – in Wellesley. The age of many bridges is still a mystery, though estimates have been done. Kerr recommends continuing mandated evaluations of the structures every two years and prioritizing repairs in future bi-annual reports.

“Similar to roadways, the majority of bridges and culverts are in good, satisfactory or fair condition. There are, of course, some that are rated poor.”

Township staff has a report detailing the state of each bridge in the township, Will McLaughlin, executive director corporate/operations added. Details and plans for repairs are included in the current budget. One of the biggest outstanding bridge costs is the possible repair of the Chalmers-Forrest Road bridge totaling $900,000.

There is a lack of information on the townships storm sewers, Kerr noted. He recommended they be reviewed in the near future, as climate change may be the cause of more frequent storms and sewer capacity is becoming a concern.

Wellesley’s road capacities and volumes are in line with provincial standards.

Municipalities that can provide an assessment document will help the province prioritize funds according to each community’s deficits and needs.

“Usually, when you take inventory you are always surprised at what you have and its value. Right now, we are showing that if you were to replace your assets – your roads, bridges and culverts – the value is over $140 million,” Kerr said.

The management plan’s expenses and assets for the next 10 years include a recommendation that township staff take advantage of government funding opportunities in the future.

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