Minto seeks Connecting Link cash for project in Harriston

MINTO – Town council has authorized staff to apply for provincial Connecting Link funding to rebuild Highway 89 (Arthur Street East) from Elora Street to the edge of Harriston.

On May 21, roads and drainage manager Mike McIsaac advised council the provincial transportation ministry recently announced it would accept applications for Connecting Link funding for new projects with a deadline of May 31.

Up to 90 per cent of total eligible project costs may be funded and the maximum request is $3 million per project. The municipality must contribute 10%, which cannot come from any other provincial funding source.

McIsaac noted the last construction work on the Highway 89 (Arthur Street East) section was done in 1990, “so that surface is nearly 30 years old.”

“It’s definitely a rough piece of road,” commented councillor Judy Dirksen.

Other potential Connecting Link projects had been worked on more recently, McIsaac noted, including the northwestern corner of Highway 9 in Harriston (in front of Tim Hortons) and the west end of Arthur Street.

McIsaac recommended the town not miss out on the chance for Connecting Link funding.

“We have been successful with this application over the years and we don’t know how much longer it’s going to be available,” he said.

Mayor George Bridge said, “We’ve lost Connecting Link once before in a different situation. With all the cuts that are going on, I’m surprised it is still here, but let’s take advantage if we can because there’s not many more programs out there.”

Councillor Jean Anderson asked staff how the town would fund its portion of the estimated $1.2-million project if the grant application is successful. She also asked if funds are available in the 2019 budget.

Treasurer/acting clerk Gordon Duff explained the successful applicants would not likely be announced until late summer or fall and he anticipates the project being budgeted for in 2020.

Of the estimated $300,000 of proposed unfunded expenses, $100,000 would come from the tax base. Another $200,000 is estimated for water and wastewater components of the project, states a written report from McIsaac.

Once detailed design work is completed staff anticipate cost of that component  will come in lower and be funded through the water/wastewater lifecycle reserves.

“The year 2020 has also been proposed for the reconstruction of the South Saugeen River Bridge on Highway 89 (and it) may prove to be beneficial to disrupt service to complete both projects in the same calendar year,” McIsaac notes in the report.