Anyone buying a new home anywhere in Woolwich can now expect to pay an additional $5,000 to pay for a road connecting to a new subdivision in Breslau.
The extra development charges would cover the $30-million cost of the so-called Breslau east connector road. The new route would run between a future Dolman Street extension at Fountain Street and Greenhouse Road to the east. An estimated $14.5 million would be needed simply for an overpass to span the railroad tracks, an oversized project that would cover potential future expansion of the Metrolinx/GO Transit line.
In December, council opted out of approving a recently completed environmental assessment (EA) that identified the route for the proposed roadway. Meeting this week, councillors reversed course in a split vote as staff pushed for the project despite lingering misgivings about its usefulness and the future of a proposed GO Transit station.
Director of development services Deanne Freiss stressed that the road is needed to connect the older portion of the village to a new subdivision on the east side, adding the route serves a local function that means Woolwich homebuyers should pay the full cost.
“It’s important to attempt to bring these two parts of the community together,” she said.
In putting off the project in December, some councillors had argued in favour of seeking funding from the province and the region, which stand to benefit more from a link to a train station and the airport.
Both Coun. Scott McMillan and Coun. Patrick Merlihan remained unconvinced by the new presentation of the facts discussed earlier.
“I’m not sure the road makes sense,” said McMillan.
“I don’t see people in new Breslau saying “I wish I could go to old Breslau and the only thing that’s missing is a connector road.’”
Coun. Patrick Merlihan said the cost remains prohibitive, with the latest report providing no additional information to reverse council’s earlier decision.
“Adding up to $5,000 for every home for this connector road is a deal-breaker,” he said of the proposed additional development charges.
“The $30 million in today’s dollars … it’s a big no-go zone for me.”
He added there’s reason to doubt that a GO station will be built given the new provincial funding model that requires developers to pay for the project from charges on surrounding residential buildings, a formula that works in the GTA where the kind of high-rise densities are possible. That’s not an option in Breslau, where height restrictions are in place due to the airport.
Freiss said the GO station wasn’t a big factor, stressing that the township should start collecting development charges right away to build a fund that will pay for construction down the road, perhaps within a decade.
The issue will be voted on formally at the next council meeting.