New public works director setting priorities

At the Dec. 15 Guelph-Eramosa council meeting Harry Niemi was officially approved as the new director of public works for the township.

Over the last six weeks Niemi said he has been figuring out township priorities.

“[I’m considering] what is in the best interest of the municipality and all the taxpayers and where that money should be spent,” he said.

Niemi noted that for now he won’t be starting any large capital projects, other than what’s already on the books and needs immediate attention, but he will look to 2016 to get a better idea of where things are within the municipality.

“I want to go in and look at all the roads, do any geoteching and investigations if I need to figure out whether it’s a surface treatment to repair some of the roads or something more in depth, a full reconstruction, as opposed to putting nail polish on something that’s just going to flake off in the short term,” Niemi said.

Capital projects in the immediate future that he said will likely go to council include road work in the north-west quadrant of the township and some sidewalk work in Rockwood that needs to be done in preparation for the new Sacred Heart school.

“I’m trying to feel my way around what everything is and sort of pull that together and get a sense as to what the priorities are, because everybody has their own list of priorities and I need to figure out how they all fit together,” he said.

Niemi is the township’s fourth public works director in as many years (not counting two interim directors). He  replaces Saidur Rahman, who resigned suddenly in June after seven months on the job.