Sudbury Chapter: Maley extension not needed, Sudbury groups argue

Click here to read ‘Maley extension not needed, Sudbury groups argue‘ – The Sudbury, January 20, 2016

Two seniors groups in the city are stepping up their opposition to the proposed $80-million Maley Drive extension.

In a release issued Tuesday, the Sudbury chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury said the road project should not qualify for federal infrastructure funding.

“Available information indicates that the project is not now, or never was, a prudent and responsible use of city and other government funds for the greater benefit of the city,” the groups said in a release.

“Concerned about the future and well-being of our community, the groups have asked all locally elected representatives to seriously consider the implications of the project and that the city conducts a full and transparent public review.”

The groups noted that federal Finance Minister Bill Moreau has said the Trudeau government is prepared to support community infrastructure projects that are “prudent and responsible. However, the local chapter of CARP and Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury say they “are deeply concerned whether the proposed Maley Drive extension for which federal funds have or will be requested satisfies these criteria.”

The Maley Drive extension project goes back more than 30 years and currently carries a price tag of more than $80 million for phase one. Upon completion, it would in effect create to a ring road around part of the north end of Sudbury and would provide an east-west alternative to The Kingsway and Lasalle Boulevard, linking Frood Road and College Boreal to Falconbridge Highway.

However, CARP and Friendly to Seniors said they “have developed a nine-point information bulletin to educate all those responsibly involved and the general public on some of the misconceptions with respect to the project, its purpose, extent and financing.

“It reveals that the Maley Drive extension is to be an east west roadway, not north into the valley area and not a ring road around the north end of the city as many believe and city staff suggest. The extent of the project has changed considerably over time and the current proposal is for only a portion of the original intent.

“Additionally, less than half of the city contribution is currently available for phase one of the project and no money for phase two or additional construction to achieve a ring road, which would likely be in excess of $200 million.”

The groups also say most mining trucks would not use the new road and the city cannot, under provincial law, charge tolls for use of this new or any existing city roadway.

“There are only limited benefits for those in the north end of the city and none for the south or other areas. The consulting firm (AECOM, which presented a report to council in November) that used city staff supplied material to endorse the project had previously done design work for the new roadway, indicating a conflict of interest.

“Financing of the project plus operating and replacement costs will have to come out of present and future taxation levies. There has been no business case analysis with respect to what other projects would be of more value to the city including repair and maintenance of present infrastructure.”

CARP and Friendly to Seniors also said “if the city does not indicate willingness to examine the project in a full and transparent manner taking all concerns into consideration the two organizations together with other interested parties plan to hold a public meeting on the issue.”