Woodstock Council news: more upgrades for Houlton Street, good year for building permits, town square updates

by | Oct 11, 2023

Houlton Street remains target for the revamped designated highway plan

Woodstock Planning and Development Director Andrew Garnett provided council with an update on the ever-changing provincially designated highway program. 

He explained the completion of Houlton Street, from Charlotte to Main, is the next targeted designated highway project. 

Garnett explained the program, renamed the Provincial-Municipal Highway Partnership, underwent several changes over the past few years. 

He said municipalities once had to submit five-year plans, which could be updated annually. He said the province switched to a three-year plan two years ago, making it easier for the province to budget. 

Garnett said the province recently changed the process to a four-year plan. He sought approval from council to make the continuation of the Houlton Street upgrades as part of its application to the province for its designated highway plans for 2025 and 2026. 

He explained the upgrade would include paving, curb and gutter from Charlotte Street to Main Street. He added the work would consist of a new sidewalk along one side of the street, which the town must pay for on its own. 

Garnett said the province would pay $675,000 while the town would be on the hook for $225,000. He said the town would also need to cover an additional $225,000, which is not eligible under the plan. 

Garnett explained that the budgeted costs can soon become outdated, with prices rising quickly. 

Mayor Jones noted that the council could agree to the project but stretch the plan over two years if they believe the town budget can’t handle its share of the costs in a single year. 

A ‘good year’ for building permits

Garnett updated Woodstock building permits at the Sept. 26 council meeting, saying Woodstock enjoyed a “good year’ in building permits, with more than $15.6 million in applications. 

He explained that the permits garnered $76,500 in fees for the town.

Garnett explained that over half the 73 permits requested through the end of September involved property inside Ward 4, Woodstock’s former town boundaries. However, he added, the town approved permits in each of the five wards. 

In addition to the 37 permits in Ward 4, the town received requests for 12 in Ward 1, nine in Ward 5 and six each in Wards 2 and 3.  

In a further update at the Oct. 10 council meeting, Garnett explained new applications between the meetings pushed that number to $16.4 million in permit values. 

He said he hoped to see the value of permits hit $20,000 in 2023, but it may fall just short of the goal. 

However, Garnett added, with the requests of two substantial building permits he knows will arrive soon, the annual number will continue to grow through the end of the year. 

“We’ll get close,” he told council. 

Town square upgrade nearing completion

Completion of the long-running enhancement of the Woodstock Town Square is “steadily getting there,” said Garnett. 

During the Sept. 26 meeting, Garnett explained that the tree grates are in place, light poles are erected, and contractors are set to install the pavers. 

Garnett asked council to approve the return of an investment removed from the project as part of the cutbacks instituted to reduce the project’s costs before work began this summer. 

“One of the cutbacks was to hold off on sidewalks,” Garnett said. 

He explained the decision not to replace a short section of sidewalk along Newnham and Slipp Pharmacy on King Street would create accessibility problems for some people. 

The new sidewalk, initially in the project’s scope, needs to be completed with the square upgrade. 

Garnett said replacing the sidewalk would cost an estimated $24,000. 

Mayor Jones explained the sidewalk has “got to be fixed for accessibility, anyway.” 

Garnett said the change will reduce the width of the sidewalk while slightly increasing the width of the streetside parking spot, making it easier for disabled travellers to use. 

Council approved funding for the sidewalk replacement. 

Town sets fall brush pickup schedule

Woodstock’s public works staff will carry out its annual fall brush pickup throughout Ward 4 from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.

Residents should place downed branches, twigs and bagged leaves to the curb for pick up by 7 a.m. daily.

The following guidelines apply:

— Only compostable paper bags will be accepted.

— Small, tied bundles of brush will be collected.

— Branches should be no longer than 3 feet and material in diameter of 2 feet. 

— Loose leaves will not be collected.

— Leaves and other debris should not be raked into streets.

— For questions or comments, contact the Woodstock Town Office at 506-325-4600 or email townhall@town.woodstock.nb.ca 

For road conditions, click the map

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