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City tax dollars to pay for $150,000 private driveway (6 photos)

After two closed-door meetings, City Council is poised to approve the deal tonight

The city's widening of Second Line East, started four years ago near Black Road, has turned out to be more complicated than anyone imagined.

Melanie Borowicz-Sibenik, acting city solicitor, describes the project as "challenging."

"It often requires extensive restoration work on private property to match the new road with the pre-existing features on the private side," Borowicz-Sibenik says.

The most difficult piece of the puzzle is a driveway leading to 1025 Second Line East, south and across the road from Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society and Strathclair Sports Complex.

The property is owned by Gary and Audrae Mae Tranberg.

Chris Tranberg & Son Ltd., a sod farm and landscaping business, operates there.

"This is a unique parcel in that it is located on a hill on the Trans-Canada Highway and at an elevation below the road," Borowicz-Sibenik says in a report to Mayor Provenzano and city councillors. "The restoration of the existing driveway at the property has been most challenging."

City Council met behind closed doors on July 16 and July 23 to review the file.

"City legal and engineering staff advised council that the restoration work at the property was extensive and would necessarily require Tranberg to acquire a portion of neighbouring land and reconstruct the driveway," Borowicz-Sibenik says.

City Council will be asked tonight to approve spending up to $150,000 for a private driveway providing access off Second Line to the Tranberg business.

"Documentation provided to the city estimates the cost to purchase the abutting property at $45,000 and the cost to remedy and reconstruct the driveway at approximately $92,000, plus miscellaneous costs, legal fees, severance fees, etc. It was further noted by engineering staff that the city would be responsible for much of these costs regardless, given the requirement to restore properties post-construction," Borowicz-Sibenik said.

At the closed meeting on July 23, City Council directed the city's legal department to continue talks with Tranberg and to complete the documentation necessary to close the file.

$45,000 was previously allocated to the driveway project from the 2015 Second Line capital budget.

The remaining $105,000 needed to complete the job will be taken from the city's uncommitted capital road construction budget.

Tonight's meeting of City Council will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.