Group of Gore Bay residents upset sidewalks to be replaced with asphalt

Concerns have been raised by several Gore Bay residents that the previous cement sidewalks in an area of the town are being replaced with asphalt sidewalks.

GORE BAY – Despite concerns raised by several local residents on plans by the Town of Gore Bay to have some cement sidewalks replaced by asphalt sidewalks, council is going to proceed with its proposed plans, based on costs and future work that is going to take place on the streets.

“I would like to thank the mayor and council for giving us an opportunity to make this presentation,” said Kevin Reed, on behalf of about 13 residents on Meredith Street (between Dawson and Borron Streets), at a council meeting August 9. He presented a letter signed by the residents to council which states, “As property taxpayers on Meredith Street (between Dawson and Borron Street), we are in favour of sidewalk repair and replacement with cement, however, we are not in favour of replacing the current cement sidewalk with asphalt.” 

“We have been coming up to Manitoulin Island for some 40 years, and own two properties in Gore Bay,” said Mr. Reed. He acknowledged the project is now in an advanced stage of having been started, but said none of the details as to what materials were going to be used have been brought up at town public works or council meetings. 

“In the notice to tender and also in two public works activity reports, the only reference in the meeting minutes is that the sidewalks would be replaced and the tenders on it,” said Mr. Reed. 

At the June 14, 2021 council meeting, a motion was passed that read, “whereas a tender for the paving of a portion of Water Street, Kinney Street and a portion of sidewalks for Meredith Street was advertised; and whereas the following proposals were received: Pioneer Construction, $221,299.34 including tax;  Beamish, $217,832.86 including tax. Therefore, be it resolved that Beamish be awarded the Gore Bay paving tender for 2021.”

“Our position is that we agree that the current sidewalks are decades old and need to be repaired,” said Mr. Reed. “We are in favour of the sidewalk repairs and replacement using cement, instead of the proposed asphalt.”  

“We understand the costs involved were a major part of the decision that was made by council,” said Mr. Reed. “But we also feel there will not be a difference in cost in the long term.” He also noted in council making the decision it did not consult or get input from the residents affected if they would be in favour of the sidewalks being of asphalt. 

Mr. Reed said, “this is a great town to live in, but many residents are not going to be satisfied with the sidewalks being replaced with asphalt,” and along with not being as good a material as cement being used, asphalt will not be as pleasing aesthetically to local people and visitors to the town. 

“We are asking council to maintain and continue to have the sidewalks on this 1.2 kilometre area (from Dawson Street up Meredith Street) made of cement. We look forward to response from council and once again thank you for allowing us to make this presentation.”

Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne said the work to be done also includes paving in front of the home of Bruce Third and Marilyn Clarke to keep water from washing in and crossing their front lawn to their garage, as well as sidewalk work on Kinney and Water Street, as well as Armstrong Road which will include new culverts being installed. 

“There is no question our (council) decision was based on the money and difference in costs (between cement and asphalt),” stated Councillor Ken Blodgett. “Replacement of the sidewalks using cement would have cost a lot more.”  

Councillor Kevin Woestenenk also said, “the decision (to pave with asphalt) was also based on the fact that two water mains will need (extensive) repairs in the future.” And since the area would need to be dug up for this work, the costs of repairs after on a portion of the sidewalks would be higher. He also noted the town had been unsuccessful in getting bids for cement instead of asphalt. 

Councillor Blodgett put forward a motion, seconded by Councillor Woestenenk, that the town continue with its previous decision to use asphalt on the sidewalks as agreed to, which council approved. 

Town Clerk Stasia Carr told council that the difference in price to go with cement instead of the proposed asphalt would have been a minimum of $17,000. She also told council the additional work projects outlined by Mayor Osborne is an extra $4,846 to the total cost.