A once very rough street in L’Orignal has recently received much-needed repairs, and they have cost property owners $19,500.

Montpetit Street is privately owned and provides access to several properties fronting the Ottawa River. During flooding along the river this past spring, the road was partially submerged. Aside from flooding, the condition of the gravel surface was extremely poor.

On June 12, new gravel was applied to the street, and it was graded.

According to a bylaw approved by Champlain Township council in 2019, the Department of Public Works grades Montpetit Street twice per year, and the township agrees to provide snow removal and waste collection pickup on the street.

He said Montpetit street had significant potholes and required more than grading. It needed new gravel. Tessier explained that under the 2019 bylaw, the property owners along private streets are responsible for purchasing the gravel and paying labour costs, even if the township’s equipment and personnel are used.

According to information from the township, letters notifying the property owners of the improvements and their responsibilities were sent to them on May 15.

“We have reached a point of no return with this road,” Champlain Township CAO Kevin Tessier told council.

The township reports property owners were invoiced a total of $19,500 for the road repairs. The property owners divided the cost among themselves.

Councillor Gerry Miner asked how many other private streets are affected by the same arrangement for costs and responsibilities. Tessier listed five other streets.

“They are graded twice a year, there is snow removal and also garbage and recycling,” he said, adding the municipality may do additional road work, but the property owners must raise the funds.

“It’s a gravel issue, there’s nothing left to grade,” Mayor Normand Riopel said about the condition of Montpetit Street.

On the morning of June 12, trucks were delivering new gravel to the street and a grader was spreading the gravel around, filling the potholes and raising the level of the road.

Champlain Township has no plans to assume the private portion of Montpetit Street as a public, municipal road. If the residents want the township to assume full responsibility for the street, it would have to be improved to full standards set by the Ontario government and the residents would have to make an official request to the township, which would be subject to local improvement charges under provincial regulation.