With the completion of its municipal class environmental assessment (MCEA), the city is one step closer to putting shovels in the ground as part of the long-anticipated reconstruction of Laclie Street.
“The MCEA is a five-phase process that, when followed, addresses all of the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act,” said Stan Martinello, city project engineer, in a statement to OrilliaMatters.
The study included consultation with the public, Indigenous communities and regulatory agencies, as well as public information centres held over 2021 and 2022, with consideration to reconstruction design and environmental features.
The city’s environmental study report (ESR) will be made public on Jan. 26, after which the public may comment for a 30-day period.
“Unless there are concerns related to constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights, after the 30-day public comment period for the ESR, the project can proceed to tendering and construction," Martinello explained.
"Tendering and construction is also subject to approval of the project in the city’s 2023 capital budget,” Martinello explained.
In addition to road reconstruction between Neywash Street and Murray Street, numerous features have been recommended for the project, including a common left-turn lane between St. Jean Street and Murray Street, and bike lanes between North Street East and Murray Street.
“The common left-turn lane will facilitate movements into the intersecting side streets, and also the commercial entrances in that section of Laclie Street without delays to through traffic,” Martinello said.
“The bike lanes will add to our active transportation network and encourage increased bicycle use, which aligns with the goals of the Climate Change Action Plan to increase the use of zero-emission vehicles and reduce reliance on cars," he added.
Ward 4 councillor Tim Lauer said he is looking forward to the upcoming work on Laclie Street, and thanks to the completion of the MCEA, construction can likely begin this summer.
“When completed, it will not only address the road surface condition and address the aging infrastructure below ground, but will also improve safety through new sidewalks and bike lanes on the northern section,” Lauer told OrilliaMatters.
“This is one of our main entrances into the city from the north, and first impressions are important, so it’ll be good to see this project started and completed.”