Construction along Pelham Street south of Port Robinson Road will see new sewers and sidewalks installed, and parts of the road widened. DON RICKERS

New sidewalks threaten mature maples

Pelham Street residents Denise Bradden and Karen Saylor don’t really mind the road reconstruction happening outside their front door, as much as the sight of half a dozen majestic maples growing adjacent the roadway, which have been marked with white paint for possible removal.

“Just another blow to the beauty and quaintness of our town, which is turning into a barren suburban wasteland,” lamented Saylor.

Nature lovers will be relieved to learn that, according to Director of Public Works Jason Marr, the only tree that is destined for cutting at this stage is an old maple directly in front of Glynn A. Green School.

“We did an assessment last year during the design of this project, and it was determined that the health of that tree is not the greatest. Also, it is smack in the middle of a child safety zone,” said Marr.

A pathway was mapped out to identify other trees that would be impacted by the construction, and then a revision was done in order to try to steer clear of the greenery, said Marr. He told the Voice that the residents’ concerns are flowing from the job tender contract, which called for the identification of trees that would possibly need to be removed for construction of a new sidewalk on the west side of the road. The contractor marked those trees with white paint.

“At present, we’re working with the contractor, our arborist, and the consultant that designed the project, to come up with strategies to mitigate any impacts of those trees,” said Marr. “Nothing is guaranteed, but our intention is to preserve and retain those trees. We’re working on different methods of constructing the sidewalk that would allow us to do so without impacting the root structure. The Town’s mandate is to preserve and protect trees wherever possible.”

The reconstruction of Pelham Street between College Street and Port Robinson Road includes a new storm sewer system, to improve drainage and mitigate flooding concerns for Pelham Street, as well as for College and Emmett Streets. New sidewalks and a widening of the road platform are included in the project, funded by a $4.2 million grant, which will be completed in four phases over the next two years by Rankin Construction. The current phase is set to last into December, according to Town spokesperson Marc MacDonald.

One lane of traffic will remain open during the course of the construction, and lengthy delays may occur. Alternate routes are recommended.