Merrickville Estates residents want McLean Road paved

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The Merrickville Estates Residents Association (MERA) is asking council to include the paving of HF McLean Road in the 2021 Public Works budget. Resident, Graeme Bonham-Carter, submitted a letter to council on November 16, asking for the opportunity to make their case to council about why paving McLean would be beneficial to the municipality from both a community and financial perspective.

The letter notes that the developer has now sold 100% of the lots in the subdivision, which means they will soon have 69 families living in Merrickville Estates. Greame writes that almost all of them are members of MERA and have said that they agree with the request to have the road paved.

“It has become very clear that the increased traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) on the steep, narrow section of Collar Hill Road is an accident waiting to happen,” the letter states. “A paved HF McLean would divert much of the [Merrickville Estates] traffic away from this section.”

Deputy Mayor Michael Cameron voiced his support for MERA’s request, stating that, as this item has come to council a few times over the past few years, it is something that council should be seriously considering. He said that, given phase 3 of Merrickville Estates has been sold, and council recently passed a bylaw to redirect heavy traffic in the village, it would make sense to make HF McLean a priority in the 2021 budget.

“St. Lawrence and Read Street are now the major thoroughfares for all truck traffic going through, and HF McLean is the contact point at which all of these vehicles are contacting Merrickville Estates,” he said at the meeting. Although the Village’s Operations Manager, Brad Cole, stated that he did not have a concrete estimate for council on how much paving that stretch of road would cost, Deputy Mayor Cameron said that a cost estimate was completed in early 2019, which had the cost sitting at roughly $121,000.

The Deputy Mayor has been an advocate for upgrading roads throughout the municipality ever since he was elected to council in 2018. He believes that looking after roads as a municipal asset should be a priority, and noted at the meeting that the amount of money needed to care for the roads in the municipality will sit at approximately $12 million, as of 2023.

“I think it’s important that we start tackling these roads, one at a time, and accomplishing an upgrade as we move forward,” he said. “These items should be identified and become a priority in our upcoming budgets.”

Councillor Bob Foster said that, while there is no doubt that the residents of Merrickville Estates would love to have access to their neighbourhood via two paved roads, there are people in Wolford who would also appreciate having the roads that lead to their homes paved. “Really, this is a priority matter for council to determine who needs roads, and we’ll base that on information from Public Works,” he said.

Although council is not taking delegations at this time due to COVID-19, they directed staff to encourage Graeme and MERA to send in their presentation for consideration in the 2021 budget process. Mayor Struthers did note, however, that council has to be prudent with their capital expenditures next year, in order to build up the municipality’s capital reserve. “[We] will take it into consideration with the many, many other things that are on the list of responsibilities we have, not just in roads, but the other parts of our municipal infrastructure.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am one of the residents of Merrickville Estates who has written to council. I think the statement that “while there is no doubt that the residents of Merrickville Estates would love to have access to their neighbourhood via two paved roads, there are people in Wolford who would also appreciate having the roads that lead to their homes paved.” is an oversimplification that does not do justice to this situation. It is much more than convenience. If that was all it was this proposal would not have my support as I would not consider it effective use of scarce taxpayer dollars. I would like to share part of my letter to council in this regard.

    There are only two routes into Merrickville Estates: Collar Hill and H.F.McLean. At present, drivers are discouraged from taking H.F.McLean because it is still gravel and many drivers are uncomfortable taking it pushing traffic onto the alternate route, Collar Hill.
    Collar Hill is a dangerous road with its poor sightlines and blind spots in both directions. In addition to the vehicle traffic, Collar Hill is the primary route for residents walking, cycling to and from the Estates. As a driver, I find I often don’t see pedestrians until the last minute. As a pedestrian and cyclist, I am extra cautious knowing this and keep to the sides but not everyone is as conscious of the risk.
    The intersection at the bottom of Collar Hill with Charlotte and Brock has obstructions where cars need to edge past the stop lines to gain a clear line of sight. Placing a police officer at the intersection periodically does nothing to reduce the inherent risk due to volumes and road design. In fact, I would argue that the need to place an officer there in the first place is ample proof that a problem exists. Root cause of the problem is not the drivers, but the road layout itself. Finally, beyond Collar Hill itself, this route adds volume to the narrow, residential streets including Brock, Charlotte and Church, interacting with both local residents and families going to the school . . .
    I think the residents of the village would also welcome a reduction of traffic on their narrow streets and so the benefits of paving extend beyond the needs of Merrickville estates and paving would provide for a safer environment for the village residents and visitors generally.

  2. I wanted to add my observations to your recent article about the residents of this neighbourhood wanting HF McLean paved. In 2007, when the first houses in Phase I of Merrickville Estates were built, we (purchasers of ME lots) understood from the developer that the Village intended to open up H.F. McLean and to pave it. In fact, the Village required all Merrickville Estates construction traffic to use H.F. McLean Rd. for which the developer and the Village co-financed upgrading for this purpose. In 2010, as part of the Federal Government Infrastructure Program, the Village secured and received funds to further improve H.F. McLean to secondary road standards, and thus ready for paving. In 2012, the Village had planned on paving H.F. McLean, but for some unexplained reason, paving of H.F. McLean did not occur, and as we all know, it remains unpaved.

    It is my understanding that in planning the development of Merrickville Estates, the primary access would be via H.F.McClean, and that it would be paved, thus alleviating traffic through the high-density areas of Brock Street, Charlotte Street, and Collar Hill Road. In fact, in the October 2018 municipal elections pre-candidates meeting, several councilors and mayoral candidates, including our current Mayor, indicated that H.F. McLean should be paved. The residents of our neigbourhood are not the only ones that would benefit from paving the road. The condition of the gravel road results in everyone getting to town by driving through Brock St. I would bet that those residents would appreciate that this traffic use HF McLean vs their narrow street with no sidewalks and lined with cars. Finally, residents in our neighborhood pay combined property taxes approaching $400,000 every year without receiving any municipal services so having HF Mclean paved would be greatly appreciated

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