Roads and water services are a crucial contribution to both the Villages economic development and quality of life, both of which provide community economic growth opportunities and support important social benefits. Many residents will recall when the current Ontario Street was part of Highway 11 and acted as a main thruway, stretching from Gravenhurst to as far north as Rainy River, connecting northern communities in the Almaguin Highlands. While functioning as a connecting link the former highway, now the current Ontario Street, provided passage for many residents, tourists and transport services caring goods and services.
Ontario Street is in need of rehabilitation, this is also true for the existing water infrastructure running underneath Ontario Street. A large portion of the current infrastructure is original to the Village and dates back as early as 1901. The Ontario Street water lines not only services properties along Ontario Street, but also creates connecting links to additional water lines throughout the Village. At the time of the original infrastructure being laid, cast iron was the common material used, as expected over time cast iron deteriorates and with an aging system water services continue to be a priority.
The Village of Burk's Falls Council and staff have diligently been working with RV Anderson Consultants since 2017 to address our aging infrastructure and how to best rehabilitate both water/wastewater infrastructure and Ontario Street, that will continue to serve the community for years to come. Throughout the planning stages of the project, the Village and RV Anderson has engaged residents and business owners through a number of public meetings and private consultations, similar public meetings will continue to take place throughout the project and we encourage individuals to attend and be informed. Although there is no ideal time to perform a project of this size in our downtown core, if the rehabilitation of both water and road to not addressed the Village will expedience costly emergency repairs that could happen at any time, even less ideal that the 2018 project is slated for.
Current Construction Status:
The Village awarded the Ontario Street Rehabilitation Project to Fowler Construction during Councils regular meeting held April 24th, 2018. Fowler's will begin placing signs through the construction area on May 28th and shovels will hit the ground June 4th. Although the construction area extends from Armstrong Bridge to just south of Huston Street, Fowler's will commence work on the south/ west portion of the area replacing a water main.
During tender preparations, the Village set clear guidelines which the contractor is required to adhere to, this included access through the construction area for vehicles and pedestrians. In an effort to minimize the impact on businesses and residents the Village required one lane of traffic to be open at all times. It is important that during this four month project the Village maintain, to the best of our ability, "business as usual". Council is empathetic to the challenges this large scale project will have on our community, it's residents and business that's why Council has tired to mitigate theses concerns through project negotiations.
In an effort to address concerns which have and will continue to arise, staff have created information documents linked below, that will answer some of the more frequent questions and provide best practice guidelines for business on how to survive a construction project. As more information is available we will post it here on this page.
Surviving the "Big Dig"
FQA Ontario Street Rehabilitation