Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Regional Municipality roadwork being welcomed with open arms

Some much-needed roadwork is underway in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.  For people who live or work on one of the worst streets, it's welcome news.

Municipality is doubling the amount of spending on roadwork this year compared to last year

Vulcan Avenue in Sydney, N.S., gets some much-needed repairs, thanks to a doubling of the gas tax revenue in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality this year. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Much-needed roadwork is underway in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and for people who live or work on one of the worst streets, it's welcome news.

Donald Matheson has lived on Vulcan Avenue in Sydney's Ashby district for the past 50 years. He said potholes and huge dips in the road have been a big problem for people and their vehicles.

He's found the best way to avoid the potholes was to avoid that section of road altogether.

"There were a lot of deep holes and stuff and if you weren't careful, you could bend wheels and stuff in your car, ruin tires and stuff," said Matheson.

He said he likes what he sees now.

"They're just doing all this digging up and putting in a solid base for the street," said Matheson.

Donald Matheson is relieved to see work being done on Vulcan Avenue, where he's lived for 50 years. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Finding money to repair roads has long been a frustration for CBRM councillors.

Last year's capital budget set aside $4 million, enough to repair fewer than a quarter of those that needed work. This year, $8.3 million is being spent on roadwork.

Once completed, the current roadwork will mean better access to a furniture store on Vulcan Avenue.

"It was really hard to drive up, so customers were complaining about the road," said Ashley Wall, the assistant manager at Surplus Furniture.

She expects the new road will bring new business.

Ashley Wall, the assistant manager at Surplus Furniture, says it's been hard for customers to get to the store because of the condition of nearby Vulcan Avenue. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Mayor Cecil Clarke said an infusion of money from the federal government will allow the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to do work on some of the worst roads.

He said the amount of the gas tax rebate flowing to the municipality doubled this year to $13.6 million.

"We'll be able to achieve some significant work this year," said Clarke. "People will see a difference around our communities."

He said the work will be paid for through a combination of gas tax money and municipal funding for roads, and he said the shared funding should continue well into the fall.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality received $13.6 million from Ottawa in gas tax revenue this year. (George Mortimer/CBC)

"The priority of our citizens is getting roadwork done and we're doing as much as we can with the dollars that we can put to them," said Clarke.

He said the municipality is also working on a four-year plan for major roadwork if future government funding becomes available.


George Mortimer is a longtime reporter in Cape Breton.


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