The Humphries Road extension, off Castleford Road, is expected to soon become the responsibility of Horton Township.
But not until Stantec completes an engineering study of the 1,200-foot extension that contains five residential properties, of which one remains to be developed.
The pros and cons of that study, and work done on the road since 2007, were debated and summarized for more than an hour in Horton council’s Jan. 8 monthly meeting.
To date, road upgrades requested by the township have been done by developers Bob and Julie Johnston. Following the engineering study this spring, council is expected to approve transfer of maintenance duties of the Humphries Road extension from the Johnstons to the township.
The cost of the engineering will be borne by the township, but look for such engineering studies, for similar agreements, to change in the near future.
The Johnstons’ agreement with the township, which dates back to 2007, was similar to developments that happened in previous years on Grantham Road and on the extension of Jim Barr Road, says Horton CAO Mackie McLaren.
Upgrades to the Humphries Road extension have involved enlarging the turnaround, widening the road and deepening the ditches, to meet requirements requested by the township’s former infrastructure manager.
“I’m not an engineer … the only thing is it shows due diligence and it protects both parties. It protects council and it protects the developer,” said Coun. Margaret Whyte of the engineering study.
“As you said, Councillor Kingsbury, maybe it should be a standard for all roads (being developed).”
Coun. Glen Campbell indicated there was a lack of paperwork. His reference was to the former infrastructure manager, who was relieved of his duties several months ago.
“I don’t want to talk about the past, but as far as the method behind the madness, nothing was forthcoming, nothing was on record as being ready and signed off … nothing that would indicate to this (public works) committee … and it’s all on record. If we turned the volume down, you’d still hear my voice echoing through the hallways, saying, ‘More, more, more paperwork.’”
The lack of paperwork, said Campbell, was behind the committee’s recommendation to support the $5,607 Stantec engineering review.
Council voted 4-1 in favour of the review. Kingsbury had the one opposing vote.
“We’re accepting a different standard than we have accepted in the past,” said Kingsbury, “but we’re setting that standard after the fact, when the standard should have been established before the fact.”
To which CAO McLaren replied, “That’s one reason why nowhere in the agreement does it say the developer must pay for this (study). So that’s why we would have to absorb it.”
For future developments, it’s more likely those studies’ costs will be absorbed by the developer, suggested McLaren.
“Lots has happened in the world, in Horton Township, in development,” said McLaren.
“We now have a subdivision planned that is getting close to draft approval, which is going to change the whole way development happens in Horton Township. And that would reflect on any future developments like this, where existing concession roads are opened up and lots are subdivided. So the game is changed, or will be changing, very shortly.”
The agreement for the Humphries Road extension, said McLaren, is how such business was done in the past.
“We’re not saying the developer built a poor road, but before we assume (the road) we want to make sure what we have is ready for maintenance,” added Campbell.
“I can only say now that for the next two years (of my four-year term) it will be part of the practice.”
“On the record,” said Campbell, “I really don’t want to spend township money, I really don’t. But there were enough valid concerns from the committee and myself … The problem is I have no documentation to bring forward to the (public works) committee, or to this council, stating that’s what it is…. I don’t want to see something further down the road coming out of the woodwork when we’re not expecting it.”
Referring to the $5,607 study, he concluded: “For that reason, if it costs a little to get a lot out of it, to answer the questions, I’m all for it.”