United Counties move ahead on CR 43 and Kemptville Courthouse plans

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The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (UCLG) has discussed two major projects relating to North Grenville. At the UCLG Council meeting on July 21, it was announced that the Joint Services Committee (JSC) had awarded a tender to renovate the former Kemptville Courthouse into 10 affordable units. A numbered company, 2195292 Ontario Limited, submitted a bid of just under $1.8-million for the project. In a statement by the UCLG, the background to the project was laid out.

“As part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis, the provincial government created the Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) to support community agencies and encourage longer term housing-based solutions to homelessness, including acquisition and renovation of facilities. The Joint Services Committee also approved the recommendation for the Counties to enter into an agreement with the Municipality of North Grenville to lease the building long term.”

The ongoing operational costs of the Court House Apartments, located at 15 Water Street, will be supported with the rental revenue.

The Counties Council received a status report on the ongoing County Road 43 Project, which has been in the planning stages for a few years now. So far, the UCLG has begun tree and brush clearing around the County Road 43 bridge. Some zoned agricultural property along the north side of County Road 43 at the Ferguson Forest is being included in the widening and there will also be a number of trees removed along the right-of-way and around the existing bridge. These losses, according to the UCLG, will be offset with the creation of “a wetland habitat beneath the new bridge and the addition of trees, shrubs and other plantings”.

To reduce climate change implications, recycled products such as asphalt and the concrete additives slag and/or silica fume will be used during construction. Heavy equipment is also equipped with filters and exhaust systems and fluids that the UCLG say will greatly reduce emissions. The final design for the expansion of CR 43 includes enhanced pedestrian crossings, which will also cater to cyclists and those with disabilities. Other enhancements include “3-metre wide multi-use pathways, detectable warning plates and depressed curbs at crossings, accessible pedestrian activated signals at crossings, pedestrian lighting, numerous benches strategically placed along the pathways and trees and shrubs for shade and aesthetics”, according to the Councties’ report.

Residents of North Grenville and all those who use CR43 regularly, will be well aware of the increased traffic density along the route between the 416 and Somerville Road over the last few years, as housing developments have been built, adding greatly to the number of vehicles on the roads, particularly when people are travelling to and from work, and on weekends.

There will inevitably be even more congestion as work on the bridge begins, and residents of Wellington and VanBuren Streets are concerned that much of the traffic will end up using their streets to get around the CR43 works.

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