The replacement of crumbling sound walls has been a contentious issue for many years. If you have driven on Mavis between the 403 and Burnhamthorpe you’ve seen the terrible state of these barriers. Mandated by the provincial Ministry of the Environment to reduce the noise from traffic on main roads into the outdoor living space of adjacent neighbours, many of the older walls are in a serious state of disrepair. Originally constructed on private property and built by the developers, homeowners became financially and legally responsible for large concrete walls that were virtually impossible to maintain. Over time they deteriorated to conditions ranging from unsightly to downright dangerous.
The City decided to replace the walls, move them onto City property and assume responsibility for their upkeep. However, residents weren’t quite off the hook. They were expected to pay 50% of the cost of $800 per metre, with the City paying the other 50%. For most of the affected residents, the cost-sharing arrangement would have carried a price tag in the many thousands of dollars – a burdensome and unfair proposition for these hard working families.
At the urging of Councillors who believed the 50/50 cost sharing arrangement was unreasonable, staff included the replacement of high-priority noise walls in the ‘wish list’ of funding applications submitted under the ISF program. I was delighted when the successful projects were announced. Twenty noise wall replacements were funded, representing 5 km of barriers in Mississauga, including six key locations in Ward 6. A total of $3.9 million of sound walls qualified and will be replaced in 2009 and 2010 – at no cost to the homeowners. Construction on the new noise walls has already been completed on the west side of Mavis Road south of the 403 and the rest should be completed before snow flies.
I thank the affected residents for their patience and perseverance while I fought for a fairer deal.