Staff’s re­ply to the point

City coun­cil­lor irked by brevity of pub­lic works re­port to his in­quiries about var­i­ous projects

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - NEWS - LEN GIL­LIS

A less- than- one- page staff re­port on a se­ries of city en­gi­neer­ing projects raised some ques­tions at this week’s Tim­mins city coun­cil meet­ing.

As the doc­u­ment was pre­sented for coun­cil’s re­view, Mayor Steve Black said in terms of ac­tual text it was the small­est re­port he had ever come across at city hall. One coun­cil mem­ber said the re­port was in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

Nor­mally, a staff re­port on any sin­gle item is two or three pages in length; some­times a re­port might go up to four or five pages. The re­port pre­sented Tues­day, submitted by en­gi­neer­ing man­ager Pat Seguin, cov­ered seven items and was less than a quar­ter of a page in size. The re­port also fea­tured a very small font, re­quir­ing close scru­tiny of the ac­tual words.

The re­quests for in­for­ma­tion in­volved:

• A traf­fic count to mea­sure the need for a new cross­walk by the Tim Hor­tons on High­way 101 in South Porcupine;

• A re­quest on the progress of build­ing a new side­walk on High­way 101 be­tween the Tim­mins Square prop­erty and Wal­mart;

• A re­quest to study the need for a four-way stop in­ter­sec­tion at Jaguar Drive and Sandy Falls Road

• The progress of a four-way stop for Spruce Street and Kirby Av­enue;

• A study into the need for a side­walk on Tis­dale Street in South Porcupine;

• A re­quest for the need of the traf­fic sig­nal light on Water­loo Road; and

• Create a traf­fic loop on Ma­hon Lane (also known as Alma Lane).

Since most of the re­quests for in­for­ma­tion came from Coun. Wal­ter Wawrza­szek, the mayor asked Wawrza­szek to of­fer ques­tions or com­ments on the re­port.

“Thank you Mayor Black, I would just like to hear the re­sponses,” said Wawrza­szek.

“I don’t be­lieve they’re ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponses at this time and I’d like to hear from Mr. Seguin,” he added.

Seguin said it was a work­load is­sue.

“I’d like to just re­mind coun­cil that the en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment has lost two se­nior en­gi­neers and that’s what we’re work­ing with, two se­nior en­gi­neers down,” Seguin ex­plained.

“We’re man­ag­ing about $16 mil­lion worth of con­struc­tion work this sum­mer, so you know we’re try­ing to fit these re­quests in, so this is the rea­son for the brief re­port,” he con­tin­ued.

Seguin then went on to ex­plain, item by item, the sta­tus of each of the coun­cil re­quests.

“While we had stu­dents, we con­ducted the (traf­fic) counts to keep costs down, so the cross­walk at Tim Hor­tons we had done the counts, and the ac­tual cross­walk we’ve in­cluded that as part of the Con­nect­ing Link pro­ject, which we will have a re­port in De­cem­ber of 2018,” he ex­plained.

“We just do not have the staff to do (traf­fic) war­rants on this, at this time,” Seguin told coun­cil.

The next item was re­fer­ring to the pro­posed side­walk along River­side Drive from the Tim­mins Square to the Wal­mart.

“The Wal­mart side­walk has been brought up for years. That is part of the de­sign for the 2019 phase of the Con­nect­ing Link. So again AECOM ( en­gi­neer­ing de­sign con­sul­tants) will be in­clud­ing that in their de­sign. That was a wish of coun­cil. So that’s the time­line for that,” Seguin re­ported.

On the ques­tion of ad­di­tional stop signs for Jaguar and Sandy Falls, Seguin said they were not needed.

“We’ve done the analysis and there’s no stop signs war­ranted at that lo­ca­tion. There were two ac­ci­dents that hap­pened at that lo­ca­tion and they were both ve­hi­cles that were speed­ing,” he said.

In both cases he said ve­hi­cles sped past the ex­ist­ing north­south stop signs. He said icy roads were also in­volved.

Seguin also re­vealed that the con­cern for the Spruce Street and Kirby Av­enue in­ter­sec­tion has been re­solved since coun­cil has ap­proved that for a four­way stop.

En­gi­neer­ing is hop­ing to get the new signs in­stalled in a mat­ter of weeks.

He also com­mented on the re­quest to create a side­walk on Tis­dale Av­enue, sup­pos­edly to make it safer for chil­dren get­ting on and off school buses. There was a stated con­cern that heavy trucks driv­ing on Tis­dale posed a dan­ger for chil­dren.

Seguin said he went out to that area of South Porcupine to check it out. He said it would be a very ex­pen­sive lo­ca­tion for a side­walk be­cause sev­eral util­ity poles would have to be moved.

“There was a lot of dis­cus­sion around trucks speed­ing through. The fastest ve­hi­cles I saw go­ing through there were the ac­tual school buses that were rac­ing around. The trucks were crawl­ing through those in­ter­sec­tions on the three oc­ca­sions that I went out there,” said Seguin.

“I think rather than spend all this money on a side­walk there’s op­por­tu­nity I think for buses to be able to pick stu­dents up in an­other di­rec­tion, off that main road.”

He said a new side­walk on Tis­dale would not be any safer for the chil­dren.

Seguin also spoke about the traf­fic sig­nal lights on Water­loo Road at Wendy’s Restau­rant. Seguin said the last traf­fic counts were done in 2012 and would need to be re­done. He said as soon as staff was freed up from other projects, they could be as­signed to do the traf­fic counts.

The loop­ing of Ma­hon Drive, or Alma Lane, was also dis­cussed. Seguin said any­time a new road is built, an en­vi­ron­ment re­view and pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion would be re­quired. Seguin said it would be dan­ger­ous to put in a loop road be­cause there are poor sight lines and a hill nearby.

As coun­cil dis­cus­sion was wrap­ping up on the var­i­ous en­gi­neer­ing projects, Wawrza­szek said he wanted to re­it­er­ate the need for a cross­walk on High­way 101 at the Tim Hor­tons near North­ern Col­lege.

He said he drops by the restau­rant at least once a day for a cof­fee, and he sees how dif­fi­cult it is for stu­dents to cross over the mul­ti­ple lanes of traf­fic.

“You have to be there to see how much traf­fic there is to see how these peo­ple have to try and get across five lanes,” he said.

Len Gilis/ The Daily Press

Claim­ing a work­load is­sue in the cityís en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment, man­ager Pat Seguin submitted a smaller-than-onepage re­port back to city coun­cil this week with re­sponses to a num­ber of ques­tions submitted by coun­cil in re­cent months. Seguin said the en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment is do­ing its best to keep up with re­quests from coun­cil, but a staff short­age is hav­ing an im­pact. One city coun­cil­lor said the re­port was in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

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