Latest News

Works budget goes up in 2020

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

The region’s budget is coming to fruition as each committee looks to finalize their financial plans before it goes to regional council.

The works department will be implementing a number of projects across Durham, several of which will be in Oshawa. They range from road maintenance to growth related projects.

Overall, the works department is looking for an increase of 3.99 per cent on their 2020 budget.

The department’s proposed budget requires $93.8 million in property tax funding, with a gross budget of $377.9 million.

Roads and general projects will see property tax funding of $46.1 million, and a gross budget of $138.7 million, while solid waste will see property tax funding of $47.7 million, and a gross budget of $239.2 million.

“The proposed works department 2020 budget provides funding for several public works programs including waste management, roads and winter maintenance, minor capital and roads capital programs,” explains commissioner of works Susan Siopis.

She also notes there will be increases related to the Vision Zero program, work on anaerobic digestion, and other maintenance programs.

There will be $300,000 included for construction on Harmony Road north of Coldstream Drive to south of Ritson Road.

$500,000 will also go towards the reconstruction of the parking lot at Glazier Medical Centre on the corner of Gibb Street and Simcoe Street South.

In total, the region will be spending approximately $29.86 million in 2020 on growth-related projects.

In Oshawa, Centre Street will be receiving an upgrade, as $10 million will go towards rehabilitating the stretch of road in 2020, while Grandview Street North receiving a facelift of $3.54 million from Highway 407 to Columbus Road East., as well as work in Columbus from Grandview to Townline Road North.

Another $500,000 will be spent on work on Simcoe Street from north of Gibb and Elm streets to John Street, as well as Olive Avenue from Simcoe to Drew Street.

Overall, $38.665 million will be going towards road rehabilitation projects across Durham.

The region is also looking to give other city infrastructure an upgrade, as the Oshawa Creek Bridge just off of Simcoe Street will be receiving rehabilitation costing approximately $4.825 million this year.

There are also a number of proposed traffic programs, such as the signal installation program and modernization programs, which are projected to cost $1.7 million and $1.22 million respectively.

The Vision Zero program, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities across the region, is budgeted at approximately $1.15 million this year as red light cameras and automated speed enforcement are to be installed later this year.

Oshawa’s Ward 1 city and regional councillor John Neal wondered when these will be installed.

Regional director of transportation and field services Ramesh Jagannathan noted the equipment will be installed in May, and they are still waiting for their partners on the project to “sign off” on it.

Solid waste programs around the region are looking at proposed expenditures of approximately $239.2 million, and will have revenues to match.

“This is a pivotal year, and there will be many changes coming to solid waste programs,” said director of waste management Mirka Januszkiewicz.

There are a number of risks and uncertainties according to Jagganathan and Januszkiewicz, including risks related to changes in legislature, regulations, and provincial reviews.

These factors include the outcome of the environmental assessment, and subsequent environmental compliance approval from the province to increase capacity at the Durham York Energy Centre.

There will also be revenue and funding pressures, such as the transition of provincial subsidy programs related to tires, electronics, municipal hazardous and special waste programs, and the Blue Box program.

Finally, there will be operating pressures which could have an effect on the works budget. These can be effected by growth across the region, which can cause more demand for services, which means there will need to be a sufficient amount of staff to make sure residents needs are still met.