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Welland Bridge 18 Committee Delegation Tuesday April 23,2019

RE: Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Rural & Norther Communities


Forks Road Bridge Replacement

Good evening Mister Mayor Councillors and staff, My name is Sharon Major I
reside at 90 James Street Welland, Ontario and I am the Co-Chair for the Welland
Bridge 18 Committee.
This evening I come to you representing the committee and group of Welland
Residents in regards to the Forks Road Bridge and you potential submission of
grant application for the Rural and northern Communities Funding Stream
application.
For the first time in years the Ontario Government is opening opportunities for
smaller municipalities to take advantage of a grant process. The guidelines
Objective # 2 clearly states to Support improved and/or more reliable bridge
assets. It also states support and/or more reliable road assets
Back in November 2018, a public meeting was held in regards to the Forks Road
Bridge Closure. Attending this meeting were Mr. Long, Mr. Anders and Mr
Nichols along with various city councillors and the public in attendance.
At that time Mr. Anders and Mr. Nichols presented the public with information
regarding the bridge closure and the future intentions and pictures, basically
some alternative bridge choices demonstrating and leading the citizens to believe
the cities intent to rebuild the bridge.
Photographic examples of bridge structures were presented to the attendees and
estimates of costs associated with the intent of rebuild. Various citizens
presented other alternatives at this meeting, one being a causeway. Mr. Anders
was quick to say that a causeway option was not investigated and considered and
explained that he thought approvals of environmental studies, Ministry of
Fisheries, St Lawrence Seaway and various government agencies could be a very
costly adventure and extremely time consuming verses rebuilding the bridge at
the same site location.
Due to it being a replacement of an existing structure he expressed that a bridge
would likely be the best option and less environmental assessments since it’s
replacing an existing structure in a shorter time frame. The intent at that time
expressed by Mr. Anders was to demolish the bridge, test the pilings, and make
the site shovel ready for the rebuild of the bridge.
Befalling that meeting in 2018, the city knew in 2016 the bridge required repairs,
you planned for a 2020 budget for the replacement according to what you have
told the media and the citizens, but you also failed at starting the framework
towards the plan of the replacement. Smart Municipalities and Businesses Plan
ahead with ensuring funds are directed to reserves to plan for the future.
The Ontario Government for the first time in years is presenting you with an
opportunity for eligible project type of New Construction, Rehabilitation; or
Replacement work. A grant of up to 5 million dollars; although not guaranteed
money, had this city been a smart business financial planner, put funds aside, and
demonstrated a proactive approach both financially and Engineering wise you
would of been the first municipality to submit online application instead of
leaving it for last minute filing. It always pays to be the first one to get a piece of
the pie...those who wait get none of the good stuff just the crumbs.
The location benefit of this grant offers projects situated within and be for the
direct benefit of a Rural and or Northern community. This community has
demonstrated the need and meets the population criteria for qualification.
A requirement of the grant; The municipality must attest to owning the asset-
good thing the region explained once again Welland owned the bridge.
Never the less your report recently released presents a causeway.
What type of causeway are you considering to build? Why is a causeway the only
option noted in your report? There is nothing mentioning any alternative but a
causeway.
Our concern is the design not interfere with water recreation access and we feel
it’s important that to express the right design would likely need to be raised
above water, so we do not limit a prime recreational location which would
conflict your push for waterfront Community Culture and Recreation. Generally a
bridge serves this purpose.
Hopefully this evening your team will present some photo examples.
Has Mr. Long presented the councillors with a copy of the Guideline for this
funding application and educated the councillors on what this entails?
Your application will require resolution and commitment from council for the
remaining funds for the completion of the project. Councils support is required
and we encourage them to look at all options including a bridge replacement in
an earlier time span of 6 years.
Mr. Zorbas did state at an earlier council meeting he would have 4 million dollars
available to the project. That together with the funding grant could take the total
funds for the project to almost 9 million dollars.
The citizens are very discouraged due to previous inaccurate financial estimates
for the bridge demolition and replacement, has engineering received realistic
estimates or quotes as to the costs associated with a bridge and your causeway
example?
We want to ensure the council is not mislead and under quoted as we want to
encourage the councillors here to approve financial application and motion that
this be an ongoing commitment.
You see the grant isn’t guaranteed. Neither is passing the environmental
assessments or getting permission from the seaway, this could end up being a
wasted application for a causeway as a bridge was pre-existing at the site location
and falls under application Objective 4.13 and 4.14 page 5 of the guidelines.
The eligible assets listed are road, bridge, air and marine. A causeway is not
specifically listed but a bridge replacement or build or rehabilitation is clearly
stated.
Another stipulation of the application is Financial Sustainability. “Projects should
have a financial plan in place to operate the assets and not seek senior level
government support for operational funding. This means no matter what you put
in place will have to be maintained by the city.
Should the grant be approved, any funds received are non-transferable to other
projects, they are for the sole purpose of the application approved.
The bottom line is, we can’t wait 6 years for a build. The causeway is far riskier to
obtain all environmental permissions verses building a bridge. Have you
considered just replacing the span that was removed where a previous structure
existed?
Our committee is disappointed that a more collaborative approach involving the
city and community was not taken into consideration while performing this report
to present to council. It’s very unfortunate and most municipalities when
providing programs and services or things that affect the community collaborate
in a committee team joint effort to come to mutual approach for resolutions. It
appears the city still is not taking serious consideration of the timeframe involved
and the potential denial due to environmental issues with path they are headed
along with what looks to be misleading costs associated and appears to be
potentially pushing this to another council.
A more proactive time sensitive approach to this project and resolution would be
appreciated.

I would like to thank you for your time and we look forward to Mr. Longs and the
Engineering teams presentation.

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