Construction season is in full swing in the Town of BWG, with many upgrades and improvements being done to both the newer and older parts of town.
In the last meeting of town council, councillors approved the Traffic Committee's recommendation to install speed cushions in five hot-spot speeding areas in town, including Miller Park Avenue, Langford Boulevard, Walker Avenue, Summerlyn Trail, and West Park Avenue.
The cushions were installed earlier this week, and council is pleased to see how well they are already working at slowing down traffic in the community.
"From what we are seeing on social media accounts, I would believe the speed bumps are working. We have seen a lot of positive comments," noted Deputy Mayor James Leduc.
He noted that council has received many calls about speeding in neighbourhoods and that the locations were chosen based on data collected by the town.
"These locations are because of the highest percentage of speeders," said Leduc. "This is a pilot project. Council is always looking for new ways to improve our road structures to help mitigate against speeding in our town."
"I believe with continued cooperation with residents, South Simcoe Police, and the town we will see an improvement in traffic relating issues," added Coun. Raj Sandhu. "I will not lose sleep over someone getting the speeding ticket, license suspended or vehicle impounded by the police that was speeding through our streets and putting residents at risk."
The speed cushion project was budgeted at $35,000.
In the downtown core, work on the John Street parking lot has begun, with completion expected to be done by end of summer.
The parking lot is getting a much-needed overhaul, with resurfacing, relined, and additional parking spaces, planters, illumination, and rough-ins for electric vehicles. The work has been budgeted for $100,000
A small 'Free' sign has been affixed to all Green P parking lot signage in town, letting residents and visitors know parking is free of charge.
Four new benches have been installed throughout the downtown core, three on Marshview Boulevard and one at the four corners behind Sabella restaurant. More will be coming on Moore Street, once the John Street parking lot construction is complete. Coun. Peter Dykie was one of the councillors who advocated for the installation of the benches.
The cost of the benches was covered under the regular operating budget for downtown improvements.
In Ward 2, 11 roads and sidewalks are currently being redone as part of the 2021/2022 Urban Roads capital projects. A portion of the funds for the project is coming from the Federal Government, which MP Scot Davidson was instrumental in helping the town receive. The 2021 budget for Urban Roads capital projects is $260,526 and $638,339 for 2022.
Also in Ward 2, three oak trees were recently planted at Taylor Park to provide shade and scenery for visitors.
Two other oak trees were also planted at the new 1.46 acre Angela Street Parkette in Ward 1, which is currently under construction. Each tree cost $3,500.
In addition to the new park in Ward 1, cracks have been sealed along the roads to help prolong their lifespan.
Several rural routes in town have also been resurfaced. The sidewalks in Bond Head have been replaced, which was approved for $78,965 in provincial funds and $315,863 in federal funding.
Council was appreciative of MPP Caroline Mulroney's efforts in getting the provincial funding needed for the Bond Head sidewalk project.
Sidewalk repairs to the downtown were also approved for an additional $50K from the town's budget.
Coun. Mark Contois was one of the councillors who advocated for the improvements to the parking lot upgrades.
“These projects really focus on improving and renewing the infrastructure in the older end of town," said Coun. Jonathan Scott, Chair of the Downtown Revitalization Committee. "Redoing older residential roads, expending downtown parking lots, and adding new benches and signage are all part of revitalizing the east end of town."
"It’s good to see a busy construction season focused on delivering improvements for our residents, particularly in the older end of town," said Scott.
"It is important to do the reconstruction of urban streets in the mature parts of town for our asset management plan," added Mayor Rob Keffer.
"All projects are important when it comes to improving the downtown," said Leduc, adding that the road resurfacing in resident neighbourhoods is important to keep up on the maintenance of the infrastructure beneath the road surface and for curb appeal.