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Thursday , 17 June 2021

One for the road–Bonnyville council explores bylaw to make 39th Street alleyway a road

The Town of Bonnyville is exploring the expansion of an existing alleyway into a serviceable road.

Currently, 39 Street just off of 50th Avenue on Main Street is an alleyway, but with some interest for future development, town council is taking steps to make that lane a roadway.

At last Tuesday’s regular council meeting, council went through first reading of the Improvement Tax 39th Street Bylaw, which would charge 80 per cent of the project to the surrounding landowners and the remaining 20 per cent would be paid by the town.

After council passed first reading, notices were sent to the adjacent landowners.

“There’s just currently a lane split six meters wide. For this development, I mean, essentially, that lane is being used as a road now, but the future development of the Beau Vista area also requires that road to be installed,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After.

“Essentially what happens is there’s a notification and the landowners then have a chance to respond, this is all according to the Municipal Government Act, and they have an opportunity to then either approve it or not.”

Under the proposed bylaw, just under $600,000 is proposed to be borrowed while just over $475,000 will be charged back to the property owners annually at a unit rate of $114.66 per metre for a period of 20 years at 2.315 per cent. Bonnyville would pay the rest of the costs.

Within 30 days of the sending of the notices, if two-thirds or more of the property owners representing half of the value of the assessed land object to the plan, the council cannot go ahead with the local improvement.

“It’s been on our to-do list for a long time to take a look at it and say, look, this is really something that should be serviced by a street and not an alley,” said town CAO Bill Rogers.

He added that local tax improvements can be a common method to approach projects that serve few residents.

“These things come into play when new sidewalks go into a community, for example, and the people on the block that benefit from it have to pay a portion of putting them in,” said Rogers.

If the surrounding landowners agree to move forward on the project, the bylaw will come back to council in April for second and third readings.

Then the town would begin the process of putting the work out to tender.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.