What started out as a simple $325,000 proposal to add 26 visitor parking spaces and a new driveway opening to the parking lot at a Hamilton Housing project has escalated into a $1.1 Million project that apparently nobody wants to pay for. Ward 7 councillor Donna Skelly has demanded that the city auditor look into the matter to figure out what went wrong, but it appears traffic planning is the root cause. When Limeridge Mall was opened in 1981 it became necessary to provide alternate access to the complex. A traffic light was installed on Mall Road running off Mohawk Road east of Upper Wentworth, directly opposite Mohawk Gardens. Along with the traffic lights two concrete barriers were installed that effectively prevented any left turns into the property from Mohawk Road. Correspondence obtained by the Bay Observer suggests that city planning staff determined that the parking lot extension would also necessitate extensive alterations to the traffic islands in the middle of Mohawk Road, even though the current configuration has existed for 35 years. The proposed traffic island alterations have resulted in $500,000 being added to cost estimates for the parking project, which on its own, has also escalated by a further $150,000.
The project was first floated when Mountain MP Scott Duvall was the Ward 7 representative. In a note to staff he questioned why Hamilton Housing was being asked to pay for the roadworks saying, “my concern is the city constructed the lights at Mall road (they) created this problem…which was no problem before the city put the centre median in.” Agreeing, a staffer wrote, “I question why they didn’t arrange for all of this to be done when they first put the signal in.”
None of the work has been done as yet, but the project has nevertheless provided more than $100,000 in consulting contacts for 8 different firms investigating a variety of topics, including a $53,000 transportation planning study that apparently recommended all of the added roadworks. Among other things, Skelly wants the auditor to find out when council authorized the consulting work.