Centre Wellington council decided on Monday it will use a provincial infrastructure grant worth $875,595 to pave South River Road.
The paving will cover 3.5km of road, running from Bridge Street in Elora, eastward into Fergus.
Township Treasurer Wes Snarr made the recommendation in his report to council. He said the work will improve safety on the road, as well as the access between Elora and Fergus.
The grant has to be completely used as a part of the conditions set by the province, but it will not cover all of the cost. The township will use $106,485 from its own slots reserve fund to complete the work. The estimate for the entire project is $985,000.
Council has been using the slots cash to leverage extra money from grants.
Council several years ago decided the money from its share of the slots facility at the Grand River Raceway would be used for infrastructure projects. Since the facility opened in 2003, the township has received about $5-million.
In April, council agreed to abide by the rules laid down by the province in order to be eligible for the cash.
When council heard the report, councillor Kirk McElwain wondered exactly where the new paving will end in Fergus.
Public Works Director Ken Elder said it would finish between Braeside Road and Guelph Street.
That answer caused McElwain to ask if the work will “catch all the really bad parts.”
As the councillors laughed, Elder grinned and said, “Exactly,” meaning it will.
Councillor Fred Morris wondered if the road will be open at all during construction. Elder said there will be some temporary closures during the work, usually where there are drains on the road.
Morris also asked if the road will be built to full urban standards. Elder said it will not.
He explained there will be no curbs, gutters, sidewalks, or streetlights, and that South River Road, also known as Water Street at the Elora end and Union Street West on the Fergus end, is mainly a rural road and will stay that way.
Councillor Shawn Watters asked how long it will take to do the work. Elder said, “We will be complete by the end of November.”
Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj did not even try to hide how elated she is at the project.
“I am so happy,” she said. “Finally, we’re paving, paving, paving.”
The township has been spending on infrastructure for the past seven or eight years, but most of that money has gone into bridges. This year, council made a conscious decision to start working on its roads, too.
Elder said of the poor condition of the road, “I know our staff filling potholes will be happy,” the project is taking place.
Councillor Walt Visser said it is nice to see some of the funds from Ontario Lottery and Gaming being spent for Fergus and Elora.
Ross-Zuj stated the township is not finished seeking grants, either.
“We’re going for more money,” she promised.