Councillors in Kenora are looking at spending an extra $185,000 plus HST to purchase property owned by CP Rail, to allow the Railway Street Reconstruction project to move forward.
Acting Infrastructure and Operations Manager Stace Gander’s report to councillors states the additional land will create a substantial portion of the Railway Street and Gould Road right-of-way corridors, in addition to other associated land by the southeast corner of Railway Street and the 16th Avenue North intersection.
Staff with the City of Kenora say the second phase of Railway Street’s reconstruction work was supposed to take place this year, but was delayed as the city negotiated with CP Rail over the nearby property. Now, staff are expecting the purchase to be finalized as early as June or July.
Councillors are expected to officially approve the $209,050 in debt financed funding later this month during their virtual Council meeting on May 18 at 12 p.m. As the funding was not originally budgeted for by city staff, council must vote on and approve the amendment to its 2021 Operating and Capital budgets first..
Once the sale is finalized, the city plans to work on Railway Street’s aerial wire and utility pole relocations with Synergy North, Bell, Shaw and Tbay Tel in 2021 to allow more road work to take place and help avoid potential delays with the project in 2022.
However, as the utility pole and aerial wire work was originally scheduled to take place in 2022, councillors will also have to approve additional funding for the work later this year.
When completed, Kenora’s revamped Railway Street is expected to include 1.5 metres of paved shoulders, sidewalks between 10th Avenue South and 16th Avenue South, new underground sewer, water and storm mains, street light replacements and a repaved road surface.
Despite a 1,500 signature petition and local support from community members and business owners, the City of Kenora denied adding bike paths to Railway Street when approving the work in 2020, as it would have cost an estimated $400,000 extra.