A proposed plan to rebuild Centre Street North in Mitchell will not be going ahead.

The Local Urban District (LUD) committee of Mitchell, together with the Rural Municipality of Hanover had come up with a $1.6 million proposed project. If approved, they would have rebuilt that road, beginning at Highway 52 and including a portion of Market Avenue. The project would have included bringing the roadway to a higher elevation, installing subdrains, regrading the ditches, adding land drainage sewers and new culverts and then adding a new asphalt surface. 

The project would also include adding a concrete sidewalk along the entire west side of Centre Street to the baseball diamonds and rebuilding all accesses coming onto Centre Street from the side streets. 

Following that work, crews would have added a sidewalk connection from Centre Street to Birchwood Lane and a sidewalk connection down Oakview Avenue to Elm Street. And finally, crews would have installed a concrete swale along the south ditch of Walnut Avenue from Centre Street to Elm Street. 

For the project to proceed, the RM of Hanover would need to borrow $1 million for a term of five years at an estimated interest rate of 6.5 per cent, resulting in an annual debt servicing payment of $240,634.54. The estimated cost to Mitchell residents would have been an extra $298.78 in taxes annually for five years for a property with residential assessment of $350,000.

A public hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Council Chambers for the RM of Hanover. However, before anyone had a chance to voice their opinion, Reeve Jim Funk announced to the crowd that this project had been shelved. 

According to Funk, the municipality received 117 written objections, which makes up 11 per cent of impacted properties. This alone would be enough to force a municipal board hearing if Council were to proceed. 

"These decisions are never easy for Council," says Funk. "When you have people that are for it and then you have people that are opposed, we in Council, we have to serve both parties. And at this point, Council just decided this was a little bit too large of a number to follow through."

The list of objections included 21 letters as well as a petition with 96 signatures. In the letters, residents noted that the project is too expensive and that the municipality should look elsewhere to pay for the work. At least one letter stated that the cost should be covered by impacted homeowners, while another letter said that taxpayers should not be penalized and pay for projects that the RM cannot afford.

Funk says the LUD committee and Hanover Council will need to sit down and come up with other options for how to fund this project. He suggests that if the LUD wants to proceed with this project in the future, the committee might need to consider putting on hold any other capital projects. 

Funk notes engineers have clearly determined what needs to be done for Centre Street North and that project would be costly.

"We had engineers out and they did some studies, they did some drilling into the road and they tested the soil and we have water issues underneath the road and beside," explains Funk. "So, we need to do some form of draining and this is part of the reason why the cost was so high is the extent of work that had to go into this project."

Meanwhile, Funk says he thinks residents were surprised to hear Council's decision Wednesday, but adds they seemed happy with the outcome.