Stratford hopes to take over roads

P.E.I.'s fastest-growing community wants control of its roads.

P.E.I.'s fastest-growing community wants control of its roads.

The Town of Stratford has 90 kilometres of roads, with new subdivisions and streets popping up everywhere.

"We're looking at doing a lot of things now with sidewalks and bike lanes, and underground storm sewers and those kinds of things," explained Stratford Mayor Kevin Jenkins.

"It's just so much easier if we have total control of the right-of-way in order to do those things, one less layer of government that people have to work through in order to get things done," Jenkins explained.

Currently, the province looks after everything from maintenance to snow-clearing.

Even a simple request by the town, such as painting lines on the shoulder of the road for a bike lane, must go through the provincial department.  That process takes time, and the request might not necessarily be approved.

Taking over roads would not be cheap for Stratford, however. The town would need new snowplows and paving equipment, as well as work crews. It's estimated the total bill could reach $2 million per year.

The Town said if a deal is struck, the province would have to hand over the tax dollars it now spends on road maintenance in Stratford. 

"Everyone has to have some give and take and that's where these talks are going," said Wes Sheridan, provincial minister responsible for Municipal Affairs. "This is something that's going to take 12 to 18 months to come to an agreement on how this would be changed."

The Town of Stratford said any deal to take over roads in the community would not likely include the Trans-Canada Highway.