Grey Highlands is going to do as much as it can to lessen the impacts on local businesses of road work planned for Highway 10 in Flesherton this summer.
At its meeting on June 21, council passed a resolution brought forward by Mayor Paul McQueen asking staff to explore options to address concerns raised by local business owners about the work.
This summer, Grey Highlands will be making major improvements to the portion of Highway 10 that runs through Flesherton. The municipality has received $3 million in funding through the provincial Connecting Link program for the work.
The contract for the work has been awarded to Harold Sutherland Construction.
However, businesses in the community have raised red flags about work having negative impacts on the local economy during the busy summer months.
At a previous meeting, Chapman’s Ice Cream President and CEO Ashley Chapman and downtown business owner Carol Wood spoke to council about their concerns.
“There needs to be a meeting of staff, the contractor and myself to discuss the concerns,” said McQueen. “We need to work on this ASAP.”
Chris Cornfield, the municipality’s director of transportation and public spaces, said the contracts for the work are nearly finished and will soon be signed by the mayor and clerk and finalized. He said by the end of the month there would be a meeting to talk about the project and how to proceed.
“At that time staff will share the concerns of the public, businesses and council,” said Cornfield, who said the goal will be to facilitate “the least disruption.”
Cornfield said he expects the contractor will have similar concerns about the amount of traffic the highway sees during the summer months.
“It’s not their first rodeo. It’s in their best interest to work on a schedule that doesn’t deal with volumes and volumes of traffic,” said Cornfield. “We have to see what they have to offer.”
Cornfield said the funding from the province comes with tight timelines for the work. The vast majority of the work must be completed this summer, with the final layer of asphalt being applied in July 2024. During the work one lane of the highway running through Flesherton will remain open at all times.
McQueen said the municipality must ensure the public is kept informed of the status of the project.
“Communication will be very important,” he said.
A public meeting about the project will be held in the near future.