Council pleased with ministry meetings

ABERFOYLE – Puslinch Mayor James Seeley is pleased with the outcome of recent talks with provincial ministry officials.

On Jan. 22, in the mayor’s update to council, Seeley said it seemed almost an eternity ago when he and CAO Glenn  Schwendinger met with Ontario Legislature Speaker MPP Ted Arnott in his office with senior MTO staff.

“We had some conversations about the Highway 6 bypass. It is very important to our community,” the mayor said.

“They gave us really pertinent information that the archeological work had paused due to some negotiations to take place. Those talks were expected to begin this spring.”

Seeley said the MTO is gradually working towards a time when the announcement is made for the project to be approved.

“I did pitch to them the economic benefit to have the new highway.”

The mayor said Arnott started off the meeting with an excellent introduction to the purpose of the meeting, the background of the project, key milestones, benefits of the project to Puslinch, the broader region, southwest and all of Ontario.

Seeley said Arnott concluded by expressing strong support of this project moving to construction as soon as possible.

Seeley highlighted in detail the municipal/local perspective of the project, focusing on the key issues of economic development, the larger regional impacts, current impacts of highway traffic on township and county roads and bridges (and budget impacts), safety issues, and land acquisition.

Seeley also suggested looking at alternate locations the township might find more appropriate for the proposed Halton Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facilities.

Seeley noted he also addressed that issue at the recent Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference.

CAO Glenn Schwendinger said it is important to note that there is still ongoing preparation work. Field work is still happening and land acquisitions are underway.

Schwendinger added that work is still continuing and they want to be ready when  a decision is made.

A meeting report handed to council states the MTO currently has acquired almost all the property required for the entire project, and continues to work on acquiring the few remaining portions.

Once procurement is completed and a firm is retained, site work can begin in approximately six to eight months, although construction for a project of this scope would be expected to be in the range of three to four years.

Favourable indicator

He said the new government has not expressed or suggested a delay or pause in this project, which was announced by the previous government.

Schwendinger stated while no firm confirmations could be provided by the MTO yet, it is generally considered to be a favourable indicator the ministry is still expending funds and efforts on the project.

Given the financial situation of the province and the many projects requested and under consideration, this wouldn’t typically be taking place on a project that wasn’t being viewed favourably for proceeding, Schwendinger pointed out.