Town of Minto seeks Connecting Link funds

Work on Arthur Street West in Harriston proposed

MINTO – Town council has authorized staff to proceed with an application for provincial Connecting Link funding for reconstruction work on Arthur Street West in Harriston. 

Council endorsed the submission of an application under the 2024-25 Connecting Links program on Oct. 31. 

With considerable work done through the Connecting Link program over the last decade, a report from roads and drainage manager Mike McIsaac explains there are currently only two sections within the Town of Minto, both in Harriston, that would be eligible at this time: Elora Street North, from Adelaide Street to the north town limits, and Arthur Street West, from Elora Street to the west town limits.  

The Elora Street North section was resurfaced in 2016 to facilitate future development opportunities. 

“With Elora Street North, there’s still a lot of unknowns and uncertainties with even the road design layout, turning lanes et cetera at that location,” McIsaac told council.

He noted there have been construction projects on Highway 9 through Harriston in six of the last 10 years, so future work should be “strategic.” 

While the Arthur Street West section has not been identified for reconstruction in the town’s current five-year capital plan, the report states  “maintenance activities are becoming more predominant, primarily in the winter seasons and is increasingly using staff resources.” 

While the report indicates total road reconstruction is not required at this time on Arthur Street West, the project could provide an “opportunity to complete resurfacing, stop light upgrades and storm sewer improvements as needed to extend the useful life another 15 to 20 years.” 

Water and wastewater infrastructure in this road section were upgraded in 2008 and no further servicing requirements are known at this time and are not eligible costs for the funding.   

“Some of the side streets do have narrower approaches onto the highway,” said McIsaac. 

“The last time the bridge was redone there at John Street, it wasn’t really constructed accessibility-wise for wheelchair access,” he added, noting the project would also provide an opportunity to set up the intersection for a potential future pedestrian crossover installation. 

Future funding uncertain

“One of the major issues that we’re currently seeing there is the delamination between the asphalt layers for some reason, between the top surface course and then the subsurface courses, it’s just popping off in multiple locations,” said McIsaac. 

“So this can be a great opportunity to try to get that all fixed up before we lose this funding source.” 

The report notes the Connecting Link program, which helps pay for sections of provincial highway maintained by local municipalities, was reinstated in 2015 by the province after it was cancelled in 2013.  

In August 2023, the Ontario government launched a new round of Connecting Link funding with an application deadline of Nov. 22. 

Up to 90% of total eligible project costs may be funded and the maximum request is $3 million per road project. 

The estimated cost for the reconstruction of Arthur Street West is $2 million. If the town is successful in its application, the municipality’s contribution would be 10% or $200,000. 

“With on ongoing uncertainties of funding opportunities, municipalities need to apply for funding as it is available,” the staff report states. 

“The unpredictability of government-funded grants means this opportunity could be discontinued at any time.” 

“It’s a great opportunity to upgrade that section,” said councillor Ed Podniewicz.