TRURO - Colchester County has changed its method for determining when J-Class roads are to be paved.
"The objective of making these changes was two-fold," CAO Ramesh Ummat told council during its last meeting. "One was to ensure that adequate majority is covered when we are looking at street improvements and that the petition process be made as fair and transparent as possible so that the residents are somehow not brought into a situation where they have to confront each other or be on opposing ends ... ," he said.
In the past, the municipality has relied on a petition process that involved having 50 per cent of the residents on a given street/road sign on in favour of a paving project.
That now has been changed so that 66.6 per cent (or two-thirds of the total frontage) of the petitioners must vote in favour of the proposed improvement.
As well, a formal request for paving must be initiated by a concerned resident(s) through the area councillor who then must bring the matter to the attention of council.
Other changes include:
- That a public open-house meeting be organized by staff with invitations to all affected residents during which individual petition forms will be provided.
- That petition forms for residents who are not in attendance at the public meeting be mailed to the current addresses on their tax forms.
- That a 30-day deadline be set for returning petitions to the director of public works from the date of the open house. Failure to return the forms will be interpreted as a vote against the project.
- Petition forms are to include historic unit prices for similar projects over the past four years with an estimate of the unit price for the requested project.
- Any request for rescindment of an approved project will prompt a second open house and another petition process.
The petition process also involves proposed street lighting projects.