It’s taking months longer than expected to finish the new concrete sidewalk and road work on Edward Street.
That’s created friction in the neighbourhood near the Edward Street pedestrian tunnel where school children come and go every day.
Residents like Fred Borody and Heather Strank say they are frustrated with the slow progress, with the excessive height of their new sidewalk, and that their front cedar trees had to be removed.
“It was all supposed to be finished by the end of August,” Borody said. “We expected it would be done by the time the kids went back to school. I just want it finished, nice and even.”
Heather Strank said it was levelled twice, but it left them with a heavy sloping angle to the driveway, which Borody said created a “moat” on their front lawn.
“I just think we shouldn’t have to fight city hall as hard as we have on this,” Strank said.
The extra height of the sidewalk, because it was built on top of the road, has created a steep slope to their driveway, to which gravel had recently been added to level it out.
But the steep slope ended up bending two front stabilizer jacks on their travel trailer, when it jackknifed as he was trying to back it in the driveway a few weeks ago.
“They raised it so high I can’t get my travel trailer out of the driveway,” said Borody. He had to put down 2x4s just to get off the property on Thanksgiving.
He’s been in talks with city staff, and they’ve visited the site several times. They learned the last contractor was let go, contributing to delays. Staff has been trying to reassure them that their driveway will be better when it’s all complete.
A new paving contractor starts next week, and that’s when the Edward Street project is expected to be finished at last, said city staff.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz issued an apology to the residents of the neighbourhood, and asked for a little more patience.
“Council understands and shares the frustration of residents over this construction project,” Gaetz told The Progress.
Staff recently made the “rare decision” to terminate a contract due to unsatisfactory work, she said, and a new contractor has been hired to finish it.
Yard and driveway restoration will be the focus, along with the operation of street lights.
“The City apologizes to residents for the delay and believes the new contractor will complete the work to residents’ satisfaction in a timely manner,” said Mayor Gaetz.
Any costs related to the paving borne by residents have to go through a claims process, after the costs are incurred by the property owner. Borody was advised to take this route in the case of the bent trailer equipment. Costs will be reimbursed by the city, after an investigation.