© Jason Malloy
Municipality of Kings County building, Cornwallis Street, Kentville.
By Kirk Starratt
Some of the worst subdivision streets in Kings County could be repaved before the snow flies.
County Chief Administrative Officer Tom MacEwan said normally, after the county and province agree on a priority list for paving provincially-owned subdivision, or J-class, streets, residents in the affected areas would be canvassed to gauge support for covering the municipality’s share of the cost. However, that process has been unsuccessful in the past.
After learning there was surplus provincial funding in the program, Warden Diana Brothers wrote to the transportation department, asking them to reserve $1 million for Kings County. The province agreed, as the municipality said it was prepared to explore funding options to cost share up to $1 million. If the county hadn’t made the request, Brothers said the surplus would have gone to the Halifax Regional Municipality.
“I thought, ‘that’s not fair, we should ask for some of it’,” Brothers said at an Aug. 14 news conference.
County council approved a list of streets to be paved as part of the initiative at the Aug. 13 council session, meaning $2 million in paving work will take place, likely before the end of the current construction season.
Paving project based on conditions
MacEwan said municipal engineering staff worked with the provincial department to identify the subdivision streets in the worst condition. There were visual inspections, traffic counts were conducted and the type of paving was taken into consideration.
MacEwan added that after these streets, constructed prior to 1995, are paved, they will no longer be under the J-class cost-sharing program and will become the responsibility of the province. There are 15 kilometres of subdivision streets in Greenwich-Port Williams, New Minas, Coldbrook, Aylesford-Auburn and Kingston on the list approved by council.
MacEwan said this could evolve into a three-year program, so it’s likely other J-class streets will be paved over the next two fiscal years.
“Taking all information into account, we identified seven areas for paving,” MacEwan said.
County portion up in the air
Council has yet to determine where the $1 million county contribution will come from, although Brothers said surpluses are being explored. Brothers said the process of determining which streets would be given priority was not political in any way.
Council has directed MacEwan to review its bylaw and provide recommendations on ways the municipality could fund its share of the J-class paving costs that treat all residents equitably in road rehabilitation.
To help maximize the amount of paving, MacEwan said the decision was made to concentrate in certain areas so money wouldn’t be wasted moving equipment around. It is also possible that double chip sealing will be used in future projects, as it isn’t as expensive. However, because the weather will be cooler by the time this year’s paving takes place, only asphalt will be used.
Brothers said the transportation department seemed open to new ideas when county and Village of Greenwood representatives met with them to discuss the Fales River subdivision. The subdivision had been on the J-class paving list for a number of years.
The village and county agreed to support a pilot project where the province used double chip sealing to resurface the streets at only half the cost of asphalt paving. As a result of the project, the provincial department amended its policy to include chip sealing as an option for cost-sharing under the J-class road paving program.
The province will now use the list of approved roads to determine cost estimates for paving, pending final approval of council. If approved, the county and province will finalize a cost sharing agreement, and after it’s signed, the project will go out to tender and paving will begin.
Brothers said it’s her goal to see all J-class roads in the municipality addressed within three years. She added that this is a great opportunity to work with the province and cost share the upgrading of aging road infrastructure.
Which streets have been prioritized for paving this year?
Greenwich and Port Williams: a total of 0.73 km will be paved, including Eden Row, Gale Street, Rawding Street and Jakeson Street.
New Minas: 3.26 km, including Lemarchant Drive, Merritt Drive, Turner Drive, Greg Avenue, Barron Drive and Aalders Avenue Extension.
Coldbrook: 2.504 km in the Pinewood and Royal Estates subdivisions, including Newcombe Boulevard, Meghan Drive, Sarah Drive, Casper Avenue, Ashlee Drive, Andrea Drive and Kristen Avenue; two km in the Hayes Subdivision, including George Street, Pinecrest Drive, Birch Court, Crosby Court and Poplar Drive; 1.774 km in the Twin Oaks Subdivision, including Loretta Avenue, Aaron Drive, Annette Street, Charlene Street and Jeremy Street.
Aylesford and Auburn: 1.5 km in the Green Acres Subdivision, including Pineo Street, Brockville Street, Willow Street and Cedar Street.
Kingston: 3.6 km, including Lincoln Street, Westwood Street, Palmer Drive, Magee Drive, Balser Drive, Old Brook Road and Kingswood Lane.
Read more on the discussion at the Committee of the Whole session HERE.