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Tender award re-ignites fight over inclusion of Jebb's road

Posted March 6, 2018

Lisbon Paving has been awarded a $793,994 contract for New Tecumseth's 2018 road resurfacing program. But when all the components are factored in, including contingency, the cost for the five road sections is $905,657.38, which is $206,043 under budget.

The favourable variance will remain in reserves, and the projected long term debenture to finance the works, will be lessened accordingly.

Ward 2 councillor Michael Beattie and Ward 6 councillor Richard Norcross, argued again last night - continuation from the 2018 budget process that approved the works - the 20th Sideroad between Hwy 89 and the 15th Line, should not be included because of its low rank, 281, on the priorites list .

"The most troubling piece for me is how it's funded," said councillor Beattie, adding he will be calling for a recorded vote when it comes up for ratification on March 19.

Deputy mayor Donna Jebb, whose home is located at the corner of the 20th and 15th Line, said the section of road is "heavily travelled" whenever Hwy 400, Cty Rd 27, or Hwy 89 is closed because of an accident.

"Unfortunately, you feel this road is not in New Tecumseth, in the middle of nowhere," she said. "It is in New Tecumseth, it's not in the middle of nowhere, and a lot of residents do use this road. And it is used as an emergency road when those roads get closed."

Councillor Norcross said he couldn't justify supporting the work because of its low ranking.

"I don't like taking our tax money to pave a road that people are using it because they're inconvenienced as they're travelling up the 400 because there might be an accident," he said. "So maybe the province should pay for the whole thing if the majority of people using it aren't residents of New Tecumseth and they're just coming through here because they're on their way to the cottage, or on the way to the city or on their way home to Barrie. I just can't see the justification to spend that much money to do it because there are roads that are higher on the list."

Ms. Jebb said the farmers in the area, "all they ask is for a half decent road, and half decent bridge, and good culverts on the roads, and that's what they're looking for."

Stephanie MacLellan, a resident of the 15th Line asked the deputy mayor why she was the lead voice on the 250 metre section of road "nobody lives on."

And I think it's really really inappropriate that you're even commenting on this because if you go back a few years you made pretty good arguments as to why this area of the 20th SR should be paved, because of your farm," said Ms. MacLellan. "And now you have a property that is kitty corner on this road with a huge garage in the back with trucks coming and going. I think it's highly inapprorpriate that you're even commenting on this. It should be a conflict of interest for you. Nobody lives on that section of the road, and it's 250 metres. It just doesn't seem necessary at all to spend taxation money on this section of the road."

The reference is to February 2009, when Ms. Jebb was not on council. At the time, then Ward 2 councillor Dennis Egan was advocating on her behalf to hard top 20 Sideroad from the 11th to the 13th Line which had an estimated cost of $386,530."

Then, Ms. Jebb explained to council the rural road west of Cookstown, in its current state jeopardized agricultural operations including their chicken farm because of the stress put on heavy trucks delivering feed and picking up livestock.

"To have the road paved would certainly help with our biosecurity protocols that are in place with the trucks that deliver and also for the trucks that take our harvests from the farm storages," according to Ms. Jebb in her Feb. 13 2009 letter to council. "If the road is hard topped it would show your support for the On Food Safety Assurance Program in place by Chicken Farmers of Ontario and our protocols that we have in place."

In her reply to the conflict of interest charge last night, deputy mayor Jebb said, "a few years ago when I was not on council, I came during budget session as on our farms, we have new biosecurity rules, the truck drivers are having difficulty spraying the disinfectants onto the trucks when they were covered with mud, salt and calcium. They were having a difficult time with that. Maybe that's what you were referring to about me asking about the 20th."

She pointed to deputations last year from 20 SR residents expressing their concerns, but those sections were not included.

"And as far as the 15th, I live on the 20th, yes, but from the 15th up to the highway 89 whenever 89 highway is closed due to accidents, the OPP reroute the traffic down onto this road and its got very deep ditches and I'm very concerned about the traffic coming down that road. And whenever Cookstown is closed, that road, that section of road that I do not live on, I live near, it gets busy. So yes I have a concern about that section of road, as I do other sections of road."

In the end, only councillors Beattie and Norcross voted against it.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri