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May. 20, 2022 | Friday
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Region completing road projects, reviewing trash pickup, Zalepa tells NOTL councillors
Regional councillor Gary Zalepa speaking in front of committee of the whole Monday night. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

The widening of part of Lakeshore Road is one of a number of regional projects underway in Niagara-on-the-Lake this spring.

Regional Coun. Gary Zalepa provided NOTL’s committee of the whole with updates Monday night on the regional works in town. 

The widening project on Lakeshore from Creek Road to Townline Road is in the second phase right now. Zalepa said the project, which includes adding bike lanes and paved shoulders, is “long overdue.” 

There will also be “enhancements” on Niagara Stone Road from Creek Road to East West Line, said Zalepa.

One of those projects involves installing traffic lights at Field Road in Virgil, at the entrance to the new LCBO and Tim Hortons.

Some of the proposed projects include adding left-turn lanes through Virgil in 2021 to “keep traffic moving” and adding street lighting at Garrison Village Drive and in front of Simpson’s Pharmacy, for safety reasons.

“The mayor and I also requested the region, town and City of Niagara Falls get together to start talking about Concession 6 and Mewburn Road, and how that links and brings traffic into town,” said Zalepa.

A community safety zone in St. Davids has also been brought forward at the region, said Zalepa.

“The zone in St. Davids along York Road where the speed limit drops from 60 to 50 through the village. That would be, at some point, coming towards the stop sign on Creek Road, right through the school zone and then continuing past the stop sign, going east just about where the Lions Club is,” said Zalepa in an interview.

“What it includes basically is signage to people that the area is in the reduced speed zone and that people need to be more conscious. Much like a school safety zone.”

The proposal will first go to the regional public works committee, which will then make a recommendation to come forward, Zalepa told The Lake Report.

As there have been problems with garbage collection, regional council is looking at changes. The new tender will ask for a quote matching the existing weekly service and another for every-other-week garbage collection, so the region can compare options and prices before a decision is made, said Zalepa. 

“That way the resources could be allocated to better accommodate the collection across the rest of the region,” Zalepa told councillors. “We’re continuing to work with the provider. There are still some issues we’re working on but the committee is actively dealing with that.”

Two companies currently provide garbage collection services in the region. One is Emterra Environmental, which handles services everywhere in Niagara Region, except Lincoln and West Lincoln. Another company, Canadian Waste Management, looks after Lincoln and West Lincoln. 

A request for proposal will be ready by the fourth quarter of 2019 and the contract will be awarded in 2020 with implementation starting in 2021.

The regional councillor also mentioned the Glendale District Plan, saying it’s the “biggest thing impacting the town.” The plan, coming from the collaboration among NOTL, the region and St. Catharines, is in the second phase right now. Phase 2 includes technical review, component studies and preparation of the district plan. 

Talking about regional transit, Zalepa said he was pleased to see the ridership rise 41 per cent compared to 2017-2018 thanks to “route integration.” The specialized transit ridership, which provides services to people with special needs by taking them from their homes to medical appointments, also increased 10 per cent, said Zalepa.

The regional staff has also made a proposal to council to enhance emergency medical service.

“In the past, you call 911, you get an ambulance and they take you to the hospital. We’re looking to redefine this,” said Zalepa, explaining a new service would allow emergency services to “send a right person” and provide a referral to ”the right service as opposed to just taking you to the hospital and you sit and wait around for three hours.” 

In NOTL, about 6.2 per cent of residents are in need of core housing that is adequate, affordable and suitable, said Zalepa. There is also a six-year waitlist for units in town.

“I know that you have some inventory of land. I think we need to talk about how we can leverage that and find some solutions,” he said.

Zalepa also noted the province is looking for public comments on regional services and encouraged residents to take an online survey to share their opinion on the matter.