Editorial: Fair deal for South Dundas?

Although it is exciting to see that South Dundas will see some much needed work to County Road 1 south and County Road 4 (Lakeshore Drive), the reasoning behind the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry prioritizing those roads could be troublesome.

These upgrades became a priority for SDG because it is an opportunity to off-load a couple of roads that seem a better fit for municipal control than county control.

However, looking at it from the South Dundas perspective, is this a good deal for the taxpayers of this municipality?

The County Road 1 south download was part of a trade between the Counties and South Dundas to that saw responsibility for Upper Canada Road shift to the Counties. That seemed like a reasonable trade.

But, what is the trade off for South Dundas taking on the responsibility of County Road 4?

Does the reward of taking on such a significant roadway outweigh the risk?

As a reward, area residents, tourists and locals who travel this area’s most scenic roadway will have the benefit of a smoother ride. As a condition of trading up, the counties will first resurface the road. That work is slated to be completed later this summer.

Making the road a municipally controlled road could unlock residential development potential, meaning more tax dollars to collect.

As a direct benefit to our county council members, they will leave a legacy of being the folks who actually got the long-awaited work done.

But what is the cost? Does the risk outweigh the reward?

Although the road will change hands in an upgraded state of repair, will those repairs last? Portions of the road were built on top of the old Rapid Plat Canal wall which pre-dates Confederation.

The next time road upgrades are needed, only the taxpayers of South Dundas will be on the hook to foot the entire cost of those repairs.

These days municipalities are preoccupied with liability. Does this roadway that winds along the St. Lawrence River pose a greater liability risk to the municipality?

One would hope that South Dundas officials have done their due diligence for its taxpayers.

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