Not an island unto itself, Woolwich has plenty of connections – literally – to adjacent municipalities. Those roads that lead to and from the township require being neighbourly from time to time.
With a list of boundary roads agreements, Woolwich works closely with its neighbours to keep roads cleared of snow, free of potholes and safe for drivers, whether local or visitors.
Jared Puppe, Woolwich’s acting manager of engineering, says such agreements, some of which have been in place for more than 30 years, outline the shared responsibility regarding township roads.
Woolwich has agreements with five municipalities: Mapleton Township, Guelph Eramosa Township, Centre Wellington Township, the City of Waterloo and Wellesley Township.
In some cases, municipalities share the cost of capital projects and maintenance, while other agreements are more of a give-and-take situation.
“In the cases of Wellesley and Waterloo, both of those municipalities invoice us for operating costs. They look after all the maintenance on the roads, and they invoice us on that. Usually it is quarterly,” said Puppe. “The other ones, it is generally a horse-trade. For example, with Guelph-Eramosa, they will look after some roads at 100 per cent of the operating costs, and we will look after some of the roads at 100 per cent operating cost. In those cases, you generally don’t invoice anybody. Centre-Wellington is the same way, and so is Mapleton. We share the responsibility.”
Following the boundary road agreement, when Benjamin Road, between Westmount and Weber Streets, was paved in 2014, the City of Waterloo put out the tender and looked after things like signage and line painting. When all was said and done, Woolwich Township covered half of the costs.
There are plenty of boundary roads that Woolwich has no part in, however. In the case of regional roads bordering Cambridge and Kitchener, the Region of Waterloo pays for all maintenance and capital projects with no cost absorbed in Woolwich Township.
Puppe says the boundary agreements have been in place for decades – since 1986 with Mapleton, Wellesley, Guelph Eramosa and Centre Wellington, and since 1995 with the City of Waterloo – however there have been casual discussions about updating the agreements.
“They are in place right now, and everybody honours them,” he said. “But, there have been discussions around making changes even though everybody considers them to be in place. But, depending on different circumstances, or even changes in legislation, that may prompt an update.”