Belleville’s mayor will have a part in discussions with provincial officials when the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s Annual Conference meet in Ottawa next week.
Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk will be part of the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ caucus meeting with a number of provincial ministers of the legislature.
Panciuk tells Quinte News the city wants the province to pull a Belleville area project, that’s included in the highway 401 widening, and construct it separately.
He was referring to the proposed eastern arterial road.
“The legislature resumes next week to be able to pass the budget … in addition to the whole 401 widening project that the BEAR (Belleville Eastern Arterial Road) is part of.”
“We would like to see it pulled out and started separately because we need it to take traffic off Cannifton Road and to create, you know, better transportation access to our new industry that’s coming with that million square foot facility.”
Panciuk says, “They have to widen all the bridges first along the 401, so they can handle the six lanes and then they’ll do the road work later on, but that will take likely a decade or longer and we need the BEAR.
He added, “We expect this facility will be up in operation within two years so we would like to see them pull the BEAR out of that project. They can start it. They can complete it well before the rest of the 401 is done and then whenever they want to pave through it they can add, they can do the six lanes rather than the four lanes to start off with.”
Mayor Panciuk says he’s optimistic about construction of the arterial road.
“Yes, because the inclusion of the BEAR in the Eastern Ontario transportation Master Plan and the budget was personally assisted by the premier.”
Panciuk says the premiers will also be discussing homelessness and mental health services as well as other issues.
He added, “It’s a wide spread problem throughout Eastern Ontario and we would like to find out what the provincial strategy is in dealing with that on a regional and a provincial basis.”
The conference runs August 14 to 17.