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Mayor Todd Kasenberg's Blog Issue 5

Understanding the Big (Capital) Projects In North Perth’s Medium Range Future

On the white board in my office, I keep a short list of projects that I expect lie ahead for our community. Some of these are new initiatives that will spark appropriate growth, some are remedies for infrastructure that is deteriorating past the point of maintenance recovery, and some are essential upgrades to accommodate the growth we’ve seen and the impacts on service capacity.

I feel it important for my fellow residents of North Perth to get a sense of what lies ahead. The list has me anxious, because the collective cost is about the same as the total property tax revenues received by the municipality over a two year period. That’s right, I said two years – if we were to shut down our government to completely pay for these reasonable and in some cases necessary projects, we’d need to be closed for two years!

Municipalities have a pretty small revenue toolbox. We can tax. We can charge user fees. We can get money from other levels of government. Or we can borrow an amount today, and pay it off as a loan over time (which ultimately still requires us to tax). Needless to say, over the years, and through a variety of programs, other levels of government haven’t been sufficiently forthcoming with funds to meet what is a growing infrastructure deficit. An infrastructure deficit (or gap) exists when we let infrastructure deteriorate and don’t maintain or repair these items in a reasonable timeframe. That this happens is not surprising, since municipal politicians are left on the hook for some big costs (roads and bridges), but face a weary taxpayer base wanting taxes kept low(ish). The easy solution is just to delay and delay these projects so that we don’t have to make the hard decision to tax more.

Here is that short list on my white board.

Project
Explanation
Approximate Investment
Albert Street Drain
Installation of new storm drain works to ease water problems in the north-west area of Listowel and increase capacity to handle storm water. Upgrades to existing infrastructure, including sidewalk on Binning St.
$5 Million
North East Master Plan (NEMP)
Installation of water, sanitary and storm water management for existing and new development lands in the north-east of Listowel.
Phased project, current total estimate is $18 Million
Line 84 Reconstruction
Widening and repaving of Line 84 as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
$3 Million
Line 87 Roundabout
Ministry of Transportation (MTO – provincial) Project - Installation of roundabout and potential road widening of Line 87 west of Wallace as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
Undetermined - timeline and costs will be determined by Province
New Swimming Pool in Listowel Memorial Park
The current pool is nearing end of life, and has been in service for more than 50 years; accessibility upgrades must be made before 2025 to comply with provincial legislation
$3 Million
Main Street Atwood
Refurbishment associated with planned provincial renovation of Hwy 23, including sidewalks, light standards, water main
$2.5 Million
Core Downtown Road Renewal Listowel
Installation of new storm sewers, infrastructure, paving of several blocks in area adjacent to Wallace and Main
At least $10 Million



Mayor Todd Kasenberg's Blog Issue 5

Understanding the Big (Capital) Projects In North Perth’s Medium Range Future

On the white board in my office, I keep a short list of projects that I expect lie ahead for our community. Some of these are new initiatives that will spark appropriate growth, some are remedies for infrastructure that is deteriorating past the point of maintenance recovery, and some are essential upgrades to accommodate the growth we’ve seen and the impacts on service capacity.

I feel it important for my fellow residents of North Perth to get a sense of what lies ahead. The list has me anxious, because the collective cost is about the same as the total property tax revenues received by the municipality over a two year period. That’s right, I said two years – if we were to shut down our government to completely pay for these reasonable and in some cases necessary projects, we’d need to be closed for two years!

Municipalities have a pretty small revenue toolbox. We can tax. We can charge user fees. We can get money from other levels of government. Or we can borrow an amount today, and pay it off as a loan over time (which ultimately still requires us to tax). Needless to say, over the years, and through a variety of programs, other levels of government haven’t been sufficiently forthcoming with funds to meet what is a growing infrastructure deficit. An infrastructure deficit (or gap) exists when we let infrastructure deteriorate and don’t maintain or repair these items in a reasonable timeframe. That this happens is not surprising, since municipal politicians are left on the hook for some big costs (roads and bridges), but face a weary taxpayer base wanting taxes kept low(ish). The easy solution is just to delay and delay these projects so that we don’t have to make the hard decision to tax more.

Here is that short list on my white board.

Project
Explanation
Approximate Investment
Albert Street Drain
Installation of new storm drain works to ease water problems in the north-west area of Listowel and increase capacity to handle storm water. Upgrades to existing infrastructure, including sidewalk on Binning St.
$5 Million
North East Master Plan (NEMP)
Installation of water, sanitary and storm water management for existing and new development lands in the north-east of Listowel.
Phased project, current total estimate is $18 Million
Line 84 Reconstruction
Widening and repaving of Line 84 as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
$3 Million
Line 87 Roundabout
Ministry of Transportation (MTO – provincial) Project - Installation of roundabout and potential road widening of Line 87 west of Wallace as part of Listowel Downtown bypass
Undetermined - timeline and costs will be determined by Province
New Swimming Pool in Listowel Memorial Park
The current pool is nearing end of life, and has been in service for more than 50 years; accessibility upgrades must be made before 2025 to comply with provincial legislation
$3 Million
Main Street Atwood
Refurbishment associated with planned provincial renovation of Hwy 23, including sidewalks, light standards, water main
$2.5 Million
Core Downtown Road Renewal Listowel
Installation of new storm sewers, infrastructure, paving of several blocks in area adjacent to Wallace and Main
At least $10 Million



Guest Book

I’d welcome your thoughts on what we should be doing next on these priorities, and about how soon you think we should act. To get involved, share your comment or suggestion below.

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Line 87 roundabout a must!

JEB 8 days ago

Is there already a downtown bypass project in progress, for large trucks? I am just wondering as there is also a transportation master plan survey in progress.

Blair Burns about 1 month ago

I think there should be an inherent urgency to better cater and encourage more diverse programs for youth that don't require personal funding to manage. Much of the time spent between the ages of 9-25 is spent in places that require the need for money to become inclusive to them. Whilst many communities suffer from a lack of funds spent on people of a particular age group, the problem is (in my opinion) that much of the resources (time, money, attention) used are to create "youth attraction strategies" instead of actually developing spaces for youths that are already there. Consider what type of spaces are actually there for youths to participate in. Now, how many of them require $$, or are in some cases, inaccessible for one or more reasons (even Pre-COVID-19). While jobs and education and arts programs are important and have made a significant impact on the ability for the youth to become interpolated in the community (in theory), why does there seem to be a complete standstill in developing actual spaces and long-term solutions to keep the youths we already have?

mollyhorn about 2 months ago

I live in Listowel, I talk to people in Listowel. Year round pool is something people want. I travel to an indoor pool once a week (at least I did before Covid) to use their pool with my wife and two girls. I do not think it would need to be a large pool. The leisure pool inside the Wilmot Recreation Complex is a great size and great function, paired with a outdoor pool would service our community well. A lot of people just want somewhere to swim leisurely, and take smaller children when the weather is not great (10 months of the year) and the remaining 2 months get out of the sun, not worry about weather.

Robert 2 months ago

A trail between Hutton St and the old train track trail would connect the entire area to all the stores along Hwy 23 without having to go north to Elma St, just to go south again. North Perth prides itself for it's trails, yet in my opinion, they are lacking, The Hutton, Krotz St area is still growing, yet a 200M trail would make all the difference.

Robert 2 months ago