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Puslinch has concerns with proposed Townline Road takeover

Puslinch has concerns with proposed Townline Road takeover

by Mike Robinson

ABERFOYLE - Both residents and councillors in Puslinch are worried about the proposed acquisition of a portion of Townline Road by the City of Cambridge.

Some of that concern lies in the proposed widening of the road allowance, which could result in Puslinch property owners losing 10 feet of frontage on their properties.

Puslinch councillors recently received correspondence from Cambridge regarding earlier discussions on the city’s proposed acquisition of Townline Road between Wellington Road 34 and Roszell/Black Bridge Road.

The letter stated, “As the Cambridge Transportation and Public Works Department proceeds with the Black Bridge Road Environmental Assessment, it has been determined that there is merit in all of the lands in the study area being held in the ownership of Cambridge.”

Some conditions of the agreement would include the transfer of the land for $1 and the city would assume responsibility for all future maintenance and operation costs associated with the subject road segment.

The correspondence indicated the most easterly one-foot of road would remain in ownership of Puslinch to provide for clarity as to jurisdiction for real estate taxation, and to enable Puslinch to continue involvement with planning applications, and driveway entrance permits involving township properties.

The issue came up for discussion among Puslinch councillors on May 20.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer said there are a number of times when a person thinks about where they were when a significant event happened - such as John F. Kennedy being shot.

Bulmer said he was on council discussing the south end of Townline Road and defending property rights - when airplanes hit the twin towers in New York in 2001.

“We stood our ground back then regarding the south end and the residents.” He said there are a lot of houses close to the road in this area.

“I’d like give the city a chance to see what it can do on its own side first, like what was done on the south end.”

Bulmer said the public information centre was a good way to get public input and the concerns of losing 10 feet of their properties.

Councillor Ken Roth agreed at least one public information meeting is needed.

“We are all aware that residents in the area are very concerned and it is our job as councillors to exhaust every avenue to see that their concerns are dealt with,” said Roth.

Councillor Wayne Stokley agreed, noting, “There are 14 residents in the area who are definitely going to be impacted.”

He said local residents have pushed to have a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Townline and Rozell Roads “and it’s gone to deaf ears.”

He added the area can also be a speed trap with the volume and speed of current traffic and suggested a lower speed limit might be needed.

Stokley also raised concern with further development on the Cambridge side over the next few decades, which could lead to Townline Road becoming a high-volume traffic corridor.

“I don’t want to make a hasty decision at this point,” he said, adding there was talk of installing a sidewalk on the Cambridge side “which nobody would use.” Homes on the Cambridge side back onto Townline Road with the fronts on the properties facing onto other streets.

Stokley questioned whether the 10 feet of property from Puslinch properties is needed to make that happen.

Councillor Susan Fielding agreed there are a number of concerned local residents.

“Council has a lot of questions and our residents certainly do.” She wanted to hear from public works staff as well.

Mayor Dennis Lever said diagrams on the proposed widening of the road allowance indicate “Cambridge has built right out to its border.”

Lever said, “So now they think if there is a challenge to be dealt with, it’s Puslinch that is going to have to deal with the problem.”

However he said the proposal before council is Townline Road as it exists now. He agreed that at a previous meeting in Cambridge, what was talked about was the widening of the road allowance onto the Puslinch side.

“The way the conversation went ... I was a little uneasy,” Lever said.

As a result Lever did some research on the city’s transportation master plan.

“Indeed in a 20-year timeframe, the plan talks about widening the road. Therefore if the city gets a wider road allowance now, it would be able to widen the road.”

He added “there is no way I am going to support a widening of the road allowance.”

However, he agreed correspondence from the city merely indicated that idea was something for the future.

At the same time, Lever said Puslinch’s public works department has significant upcoming work to do on a bridge along that section of road.

“If the city assumes the road, it also assumes the liability. It’s not all a downside.”

However, he noted Bulmer’s previous discussion on the south end of Townline Road. “It’s still a wider road, but it’s on the Cambridge side.”

Lever added “We need to be very clear as to what we are willing to support and I certainly have challenges with this.”

Fielding said, “If Cambridge is the maker of the problems, they should solve them in Cambridge.”

Puslinch held a public meeting on the matter on June 4 at 7pm in the council chamber. At that time, the City of Cambridge presented information regarding the transfer.

The township presented information regarding estimated costs for maintenance (capital costs) of the section of road.

June 5, 2015


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