Petrolia opts for long-term road fixes; nixes several repaving jobs


Petrolia streets in desperate need of repair after the long hard winter won’t be getting a quick fix anytime soon.

The town was considering spending about $250,000 to repair a list of streets which are filled with potholes.  That list includes Wingfield Street, sections of Greenfield Street, Railroad Street, Robert Street, Huggard Ave, parts of First Ave, Ernest and Kells, two sections of Catherine St. and sections of Derby and Holland Street. Town staff wanted to have have the pavement milled off and then repaved.

Tank Street and Discovery Line were to have parts of the sides of the chip stone roads broken down and repaired.

Those repaving jobs likely would have lasted for between five and six years before more work would need to be done.

The money for the repairs had not be budgeted but staff said at the time it would have been found by delaying other capital projects.

Joe Adams, director of operations for the town brought the list to council in April and it was expected the final approval would come at the end of the month. But that approval never came back to council.

In June, town councillors met with 4 Roads Management, a consulting firm, to talk about asset management planning and capital financing. It was at that session that Mayor John McCharles says it became clear the plan to “shave and pave” the streets was not in the best interest of long-term planning.

McCharles says council agrees it would be best to put the limited funds council has into larger projects which would repair the road for 25 years.

“Money is the biggest problem,” says McCharles. “It is a matter of how much money do you put to these roads without doing a complete job…the consultants suggested that just covering them is not the wisest to do.

“It’s the matter of trying to do the right thing with the money we’ve got, just to resurface is not good planning. We have to do it properly; we have to do it so it will last.”

McCharles admits that will mean fewer streets will be repaired in the short-term but over the next 10 years, he says, Petrolia’s roads system will improve.

“It comes back to the usage of money. You put your money where it is going to last,” says McCharles. “If you take the money from shave and pave and put it to a major projects, you could do more of those in the long term.”

McCharles says the new direction means the streets which were in dire need of repair at the end of this year’s harsh winter, may only have the pot holes filled.

“For those with potholes in their street, this is not what they want to hear,” McCharles acknowledges. “But if you can replace a street and have it good for 25 years that’s what we  want.”

The mayor added many construction companies are so busy now, they don’t want to bid on smaller paving jobs so the pricing is not that competitive.

McCharles says over the next few months, council will be putting roads which need repair on a priority list. For him, Florence and Egan Streets should be at the top.

The mayor adds the provincial government, which has reduced the amount of money it gives municipalities for large road construction, needs to step up  with money to help towns which are having a hard time finding the cash for major road work.