Sudbury takes 'calculated risk' using recycled asphalt

City engineers say taxpayers are getting their money's worth when it comes to new roadwork.

City staff report more roads can be resurfaced using recycled material

In the wake of questions posed by Sudbury’s auditor over the quality of the recycled asphalt the city buys from contractors, city engineers say taxpayers are getting their money's worth when it comes to new roadwork.

At a meeting Monday night, staff told councillors the asphalt is regularly inspected. Contractors also refund the city when new pavement or sidewalks are not up to code, Greater Sudbury's manager of project engineering said.

"We are confident and we can assure you, that we are getting what we pay for," Peter Chiesa said.

But Coun. Terry Kett said he was unhappy that this full explanation from staff came so long after the auditor's report already made damaging headlines.

"To me this very, very good response becomes passé, almost ineffective," he said.

"What good is it four months later?"

Kett suggested all future auditor reports should be paired with a presentation from staff to give the public a more balanced picture.

Lower price means more paving

Despite the criticism, staff members were applauded at the meeting for taking calculated risks when it comes to resurfacing roads.

Up for discussion was the use of recycled asphalt, something highlighted as a concern in the recent report from the city's auditor general. While the quality of the recycled pavement is not always the best, the lower price allows for more streets to be re-done, staff reported.

Coun. Jacques Barbeau said he likes that plan.

"I think council would support these calculated risks that you're taking, to allow us to pave more roads in our cities and, God knows, we all get calls on a daily basis about our roads," Barbeau said.

Greater Sudbury is a pioneer when it comes to paving streets with recycled asphalt, staff noted, while other cities choose to spend extra for new asphalt.