Sackville will be able to do some additional road upgrades this year thanks to a one-time top up from the federal government the town did not anticipate.
Several smaller streets or sections of streets throughout the community will be paved in 2019, projects that were set to be completed in future years but will now move ahead due to the unexpected windfall.
“We reviewed what was outstanding, what was eligible, what projects could be spent with this money,” said town treasurer Michael Beal.
Beal said the additional funding the town will receive for its gas tax top-up funding this year amounts to an estimated $412,000. About $125,000 of that will be allocated toward sanitary trunk sewer renewals on Main Street, a section that runs from Squire Street to Devon Avenue. Beal said the extra funds are certainly welcome as it will mean less borrowing for this utility work that was expected to be funded over a three-year period.
The remaining funds will go towards various paving projects, including: Gordon Street, Crestview Drive, Pringle Street, Rectory Lane, Clarence Street as well as sections of Stanley Drive, Walker Road, Ford Lane, and Ogden Mill Road.
Beal said town staff will be sending a revised capital investment plan for the gas tax fund to the provincial government and will need to wait for approval before any funds can be spent. That will hopefully happen by August, so that tenders can go out by this summer, he said.
Todd Hicks, superintendant of public works, explained at town council's July discussion meeting that the streets selected to be paved this year were ones that were listed as being in disrepair but don’t require any upgrades or repairs to the underground infrastructure. These streets were prioritized on a list that was formulated in 2017 following an evaluation of the road conditions in Sackville.
Meanwhile, Beal said the Cattail Ridge/Bridge Street intersection was one of the areas up for discussion - but he pointed out that the upgrades needed in that area could be 85 per cent funded if the project is approved in the future through the designated highway program. While the town was denied provincial funding in 2019 for this work, he said staff felt it best to wait to see if funding would come through next year.
“If we used our own capital money or this gas tax money, that would mean 100 per cent funding would be going towards a provincially-designated highway,” he said.
Instead, the town will continue to apply and to “push and ask the province for more money for designated highways.”