The residents of Queen St. East in Virden are hoping six years of construction grief will wind up this summer. But it may not.
The Town has proposed a local improvement plan that would see one block of Queen St. East between First and Second Avenues get new pavement, curbs and gutters at a cost of $225,000. The repaving was made necessary by excavation for sewer and water main replacement.
The plan proposes to bill the work to two classes of local taxpayers: the owners of “benefitting properties” on that street and the owners of all taxable properties in Virden. (See below for cost details.)
“Everyone in the town pays a portion of this project.” – Virden CAO Rhonda Stewart
Property owner Tyson Lobreau wrote a letter of objection to the Town and appeared at the July 9 council meeting where the plan was discussed.
He says he purchased his property two years ago in good condition with pavement, curbs and gutter. But, he said, when his water was turned back on after the water main work, the pipes in his home became impacted with sand and had to be replaced.
Then, he says, a piece of heavy equipment touched a power line which caused a surge that “cooked” his appliances and furnace. Lobreau says when he told the Town about the damage, he was told his property was his responsibility.
In his letter of objection, he wrote, “This (pavement, curb and gutter) is not my property and I will not be paying for the replacement or repair of TOWN PROPERTY.”
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Rhonda Stewart said, “This is past practice whenever sewer and water mains are replaced. And there were bad curbs as well that needed to be replaced, and the street was in excess of 30 years old.”
Because of Lobreau’s formal objection, the road repair work now has to be delayed for 30 days giving any objectors time to appeal to the Municipal Board for intervention.
Says Stewart, “If he appeals, this project is held up. I guess we’re hoping he doesn’t appeal.”
Another resident, Brett Rishel, is also hoping the roadwork isn’t delayed. He’s fed up with the seemingly endless construction on Queen St. East, which serves as an access route to the TransCanada Highway since the bridge on PTH 257 was closed.
Rishel told council, “As you’re aware, I’ve had something torn up in front of my place for six years. I am really anxious to get this fixed. I’m tired of the mud, the dirt, the dust and everything that goes with it. Please, please get this done.”
WHAT WILL IT COST?
If the resurfacing plan goes ahead, two groups of property owners will be paying for the roadwork:
Group One: Queen St. East owners will have to pay a levy calculated at $13 per foot of frontage. They can choose to pay the levy all at once or over five years. Example: A home with a 65-foot frontage would pay $845 in a lump sum or $192.40 annually over five years.
Group Two: All other owners of taxable property in Virden will be charged a local improvement tax through a special mill rate levy. Example: On a property valued at $300,000, the owner will pay an extra $27.40 per year for five years ($137).