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City on the hook for 'massive' funding shortfall to complete North Cambridge Business Park road

City's Growth Debenture will be used to fund a $6.7 million shortfall to complete construction of Boychuck Road
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The start of Boychuck Drive, from Maple Grove Road, is seen in this 2021 Google Street View. The road will eventually connect with Intermarket Road and King Street in Kitchener as an east-west connector through the North Cambridge Business Park.

The city has agreed to open up its coffers to pay what one councillor called a “massive” $6.7 million funding shortfall in the plan to build an east-west collector road through the North Cambridge Business Park.

The project to link Intermarket Road, located off Allendale Road, to King Street in Kitchener, will be made possible with construction of a collector road now known as Boychuck Drive.

Since the project includes crossing a railway, several stakeholders are involved in the construction, including the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the Region of Waterloo and the City of Kitchener. 

A portion of Boychuck Road lies outside city limits, requiring a memorandum of understanding with the region on ownership and maintenance once it’s built.

Jan Liggett asked how such a “massive” funding shortfall happened. 

“That’s an amazing amount of money,” she said.

The city’s director of engineering, Kevin De Leebeeck cited three primary drivers, including the need to construct a diversion track to accommodate a grade separation where the road crosses the tracks, the need for $3.5 million worth of retaining walls, and $1 million to purchase land from the MTO, none of which was contemplated in the original budget.

The King Street connection lies in close proximity to Highway 8 where a Hydro One tower sits on the southern portion of the MTO property. To ensure the stability of the tower, the city needs to build a retaining wall. It is also in negotiations with future developers to create a grading scheme that minimizes the need for retaining walls.

The city had been counting on the annual production shutdown of Toyota to allow Canadian Pacific Railway to remove an existing railway spur and install a new structure. But COVID production shutdowns got in the way of scheduling. 

Construction of a $3.3 million diversion track eliminates the need to coordinate the work with Toyota. A cost sharing agreement with CP Railway softens some of the blow.

Coun. Mike Mann questioned how using reserve funds to cover the shortfall will impact Cambridge taxpayers.

The city’s chief financial officer, Sheryl Ayres, responded by saying it wouldn’t since the money is coming out of the city’s Growth Debenture which will be repaid using fees charged to all future developers.

Coun. Donna Reid called the project “very needed” as she recalled being asked to open up the Cambridge Business Park for development in 2012.

“This is a way to further open up these employment lands and bring business into our city to support our economic recovery,” she said.