Take back the 17 says counties council
L’ORIGNAL | County Road 17 should be a provincial highway say the mayors in Prescott-Russell. The United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) voted to support a walk-in resolution from Clarence-Rockland Mayor Marcel Guibord during its June 26 regular session. But first there was some talk about expanding on the original request. Mayor Guibord asked his fellowmayors to support his city’s demand to the provincial government to take back responsibility for section of County Road 17 east of Rockland to where it joins Highway 174 at the Canaan Road intersection. “If we don’t ask for it, we’ll never get it,” Mayor Guibord said. Clarence-Rockland is taking a lead from the City of Ottawa which has asked the province to re-designate Highway 174 as a provincial highway. The highway links with the county road at the Canaan Road inter- section and links Rockland with Ottawa’s Orléans suburb. Both County Road 17 and Highway 174 were downgraded to regional road status and made the responsibility of local governments during the Harris Pro- gressive Conservative administration. Several of the mayors suggested that counties council not limit itself to just ask- ing for the province to upload the Rockland
section of County Road 17. “I would like to see them take back all of it,” said Mayor Gary Barton of Champlain Township. The Nation Mayor François St-Amour ad- vised caution in presenting Queens Park with an all-or-nothing demand. He noted that the Rockland portion of the county road is the subject of an environmental assessment process for the proposed four- lane upgrading of the Orléans-Rockland connection and if that goes ahead then both the provincial and federal govern- ments will provide funding for the future route expansion. “Maybe if we go by piecemeal, we’ll have
better luck,” he said. “I’ll take just a piece of the (upload) pie for now.” Chief Administrator Stéphane Parisien noted that Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli has indicated in past local media interviews that the province is not prepared to resume responsibility for the county road or the Ottawa highway. Mayor Guibord in- dicated that a response from the current municipal affairs minister would carry more weight. Warden René Berthiaume noted that the UCPR has received refusals to past requests for the province to take back the county road. Ottawa’s current demand has earned a “no”from Chiarelli, who is a cabinet minister
even if he is not head of municipal affairs. He suggested the counties should continue to lobby for uploading of County Road 17 while at the same time asking for provincial funding aid for maintaining it. Russell Town- ship Mayor Jean-Paul St-Pierre agreed and suggested an amended resolution to cover those options. “We have a right to ask,” he said. “But we should keep the province’s support if County Road 17 remains a regional road. We’re going to need the province on our side once we have to start doing the heavy work.” Counties council approved the amended resolution.
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