The city will pay up to $150,000 for a private driveway servicing a sod farm and landscaping business on Second Line across from Strathclair Sports Complex and Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society.
With three councillors opposed, City Council voted Monday night to pay for the complicated and expensive driveway, allowing transports to access a property owned by Gary and Audrae Mae Tranberg at 1025 Second Line East.
Chris Tranberg & Son Ltd., a sod farm and landscaping business, operates there.
"I can't support this," said outgoing Ward 6 councillor Ozzie Grandinetti. "City taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill for this."
City engineering and legal staff asked for the driveway, which they said is needed after the city's widening of Second Line East, started four years ago.
The Tranberg property turned out to be more challenging than anyone expected.
"I believe that the engineer should cover the cost of this, as it was his oversight," Grandinetti said.
"This tenant is controlling the whole approach to this property," said Ward 5's Frank Fata, another outgoing councillor.
"This is a residential property that happens to have a commercial tenant," Fata said. "It's not right, in terms of the expenditure that's being asked here."
Ward 1 councillor Paul Christian also voted against the $150,000 private drive.
"This is not the first time this sort of thing has ever occurred," said Ward 2 councillor Susan Myers, who's retiring from City Council to serve on Algoma District School Board. "It doesn't happen often but it does occur."
Don Elliott, the city's director of engineering services, said it's the city's responsibility to restore front yards and driveways during road reconstruction projects.
Connecting to the Tranberg property was particularly complicated because additional property had to be acquired to allow transport trucks to access the sod farm," Elliott said.