Deputy Mayor's Round Table Discussions on Roads in Kawartha Lakes


Deputy Mayor Doug Elmslie hosted seven Round Table Discussions about roads in Kawartha Lakes.

The round tables brought together community representatives in each ward to discuss the state of the 5,400 lane kilometers of roads in Kawartha Lakes and the fiscal and operational challenges of maintaining them.

At each meeting the group generated prospective solutions for these challenges. Contributing residents identified priorities, established realistic standards and evaluated the implications of each recommendation brought forward in the discussion. The top three recommendations from each round table will be compiled in a report which will be presented to Council.

Deputy Mayor Doug Elmslie hosted seven Round Table Discussions about roads in Kawartha Lakes.

The round tables brought together community representatives in each ward to discuss the state of the 5,400 lane kilometers of roads in Kawartha Lakes and the fiscal and operational challenges of maintaining them.

At each meeting the group generated prospective solutions for these challenges. Contributing residents identified priorities, established realistic standards and evaluated the implications of each recommendation brought forward in the discussion. The top three recommendations from each round table will be compiled in a report which will be presented to Council.

Do you have a question about the Deputy Mayor's Roundtables or about roads in Kawartha Lakes? Ask us!

In order to ensure we answer your questions thoroughly please allow us 2-3 business days for a response.


  • I live off Baseline in Coboconk. I have seen the pot holes be filled multiple times this summer and last. Baseline pot holes are horrendous. The wear and tear on my vehicle is causing issue now. Why haven’t you just fixed it properly by paving it instead of waisting money on half-way efforts with temp solutions hole filling? I feel frustrated that that’s just waisting our money. If ditches need to be cut then do it. The size and frequency of these Baseline pot holes are ridiculous, frustrating and costly. When do you plane on paving them? This is most important to me as a Coby resident.

    A asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question. We understand potholes are frustrating – they are for us too! Potholes are created when water gets into the subsurface of the roadway. This causes the road base to weaken and then the weight of traffic causes the surface of the road to break up and pop out.

    Public Works is responsible for the operational maintenance of roadways. Crews repair potholes in accordance with the Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS) developed by the Province of Ontario. Potholes are classified by size and depth and are prioritized for repair based on the classification of road. Timing can be anywhere from 4 to 60 days depending on the size of the pothole and the classification of the road. Pothole repairs are temporary.

    Good news though, the repaving of large sections of Baseline Rd. between Highway 35 and CKL 45 is scheduled to be completed by the end of October 2019 as part of lifecycle extension work through our Engineering & Corporate Assets Department.

    An update of all roads in the lifecycle extension tender was received at Committee of the Whole on September 10. The report is included with item 6.1.9 in the minutes available here:

  • During the meeting on March 19th, Mr. Rojas outlined a report showcasing the costs to maintain Zion Rd as paved vs gravel. In that table, for both scenarios (paved/not paved) there was an item listed as "other" at over a million dollars. Mr. Rojas was asked to provide the breakdown as to what that was but council to date has never received a follow up on that request. This is very important to understand when we are talking what is going into these numbers for road maintenance and what is being required financially to maintain them. This goes for all roads, and not just Zion rd. I would like to see the breakdown of this at the round table so that we can discuss in detail where other efficiencies can be gained from within the existing budget that we are currently allocating to our roads.

    littlebritainfarmer asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The ‘other maintenance’ referred to could include, but not be limited to: road side grass cutting, weed control, ditching, brushing, replacement of culverts, guiderails and signs, and emergency support (for example: accidents, flooding, illegal dumping). For gravel roads it could also include wash out repairs; for paved roads it could include patching activities and street sweeping.

  • After amalgamation the city has an enormous foot print for such a small population and 5400 km of roads! Beyond the 52 M reported for roads in the budget, does the CKL get any funding from the province, or other partners, for capital improvements or maintenance? The answer could effect the answers to your poll questions. Thank you

    John Bush Environmental Action Bobcaygeon asked 5 months ago

    The only external funding that the City receives that can be applied to road maintenance and capital improvements is the Federal Gas Tax funding of approximately $4.5 million.

    Federal Gas Tax funds can be used for a multitude of purposes, including road maintenance and capital improvements.

    We are always looking for funding opportunities for our services and programs. Funding programs through other levels of government often change so we are always monitoring the opportunities available.

  • There appears to be a new cold patch product being used this summer on municipal roads. Is it an improvement? It does not appear to be. Rather than filling the holes it tends to contour to the hole but does not break out of it like traditional cold patch of the past. It is not a solution for the suspension on our vehicles if the pot hole is not restored to level! Thank you

    John Bush Environmental Action Bobcaygeon asked 5 months ago

    Pothole patching is an ongoing activity and we use both cold patch and hot patch for this work. We have also been testing a new alternative product as a pilot project in a limited area.

    We are always looking for better ways of doing things while ensuring we meet the Minimum Maintenance Standards outlined by the province. Your feedback on this is appreciated.

  • Hello! I have some questions that pertain to the first report, tiled Finance. My questions refer to some of the numbers’ breakdown and how our roads spending compares to other communities. On slide #11, we are shown comparison figures for “Households per lane km of roads”, and “Percentage of taxes allocated to roads”. These comparisons might lead us astray (or induce high blood pressure!), as it might be more helpful to compare Kawartha Lakes to types of communities similar to ourselves. We have to keep in mind that though our percentage of taxes spent on roads looks comparatively high, neither are we funding GO trains, subways, streetcars, or other complex public transit systems. If we look back to slide #2, could we instead find comparisons according to our geographical size and our population. Example: How do we compare against (Ontario) municipalities that are rated #1 and #3 in Geographical Size category, and how do we compare against the municipalities that are #24 and #26 in Population category? Also, please advise if the “Households” figure refers to only year-round/permanent households, or does it include the tax base from seasonal/cottage homes as well? If it includes the latter, is the percentage allotment to roads similar on both accounts? And, how do we compare to communities with a similar mix of road types (discussed in the 2nd report, Engineering); paved urban, paved rural, gravel, high-float? Bottom-line, I am wanting to ascertain if our spending on roads is similar to other Cottage-Country types of communities? Thank you (Note to the web-master: I had earlier typed up a similar bunch of questions, but my entry was “lost” when I was directed to register to the Jump In site. If you did end up receiving my previous message, you can ignore it, as I think this one here is more concise. Thx!)

    Sheila Wright asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The information provided in the Finance presentation was to provide some context around the relationship between geographic size, population, and tax rate.

    The City certainly doesn’t feel that the City of Toronto is a direct comparator. The purpose of using Toronto was to illustrate that we are geographically very large, but have a scarce population to pay for infrastructure relative to a large City. You are correct that the City of Toronto is funding other infrastructure that Kawartha Lakes doesn’t have, but the investment in roads is a direct comparison.  Again, the purpose of the slides was to highlight that we have a lot of roads, with few residents to pay the taxes necessary to support them. The City of Toronto has 30 times more households, but less than 3 times as many roads.

    I appreciate your question about how do we compare to a municipality that is similar in geographic size, or in population.  From a population perspective, Peterborough is at #24, and that information is included in the slide (approx. 37 households per lane km). From a geographic perspective, our direct comparator would be Timmins and Sudbury. Both of these are in Northern Ontario and have a smaller road network than Kawartha Lakes. Comparatively, Timmins has approximately 18 households per lane km of roads, and Sudbury as approximately 21 households per lane kilometre of roads.

    The number of households includes both permanent and seasonal households. The amount of taxes spent on roads is allocated City wide. There is no differentiation between permanent and seasonal residents.

    I’m not sure if there was a specific cottage country community that you felt was comparable to Kawartha Lakes. Muskoka (upper and lower tier municipalities) has approximately 11 households per lane kilometer of roads, and spends approximately 25% of their combined budgets on roads.

  • The city contracts out the garbage pickup for the 33 taxpayers on my road to Miller Group .Due to the lacklustre performance of the clear bag program, coupled with Miller’s policies most taxpayers on my road no longer use the Wednesday garbage pickup. So the 16ton trucks roll down our unassumed road every Wednesday, mostly empty, getting 3mpg and destroying the trucks brakes and our road. I would give Miller an F grade for service, and an A+ for using taxpayers money. Does the city have an evaluation system in place for its contractors?

    Biomed asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your question. We’re sorry to hear you’ve had issues with curbside waste collection. Issues with municipal services can be submitted through the Report It page on our website. Your concern is forwarded to the appropriate department for a response and you will receive a tracking number for your issue.

    The municipality does have an evaluation system in place for contractors. The vendor management program outlines the roles and responsibilities of City staff and vendors; the criteria and processes for performance evaluation; regulations and standards for environment, health and safety; and processes for communication between the City and its vendors. Details on the program are available on our website at

    Contractors are an important part of our service delivery model and we have put processes in place to ensure that the relationship is positive for the contractor, the municipality, and the taxpayers.

  • Your poll means little sense if you don’t state what services would be cut if road costs increased but taxes didn’t.

    RichardW asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The quick poll question is designed to gauge public sentiment on how important road infrastructure is.

    Reducing service levels is very difficult and is an area that Council takes very seriously. It isn’t as simple as cutting a line item out of a budget. The municipality provides the services it does because there is a need for them. Council looks at all aspects of the service – who is it for, what is the cost, how are we delivering it, and what are the implications if we don’t provide it – and makes decisions based on that information. 49 of over 200 services were reviewed over the past few years as part of Council’s Core Service Review and service levels were defined.

    We felt it was important to put a qualifier on the poll question so that residents understood that if more money were to be spent on roads it would have to come from somewhere. Council has increased spending on roads by 90% over the past ten years and will spend approximately $52 million in 2019.

  • Hundreds of taxpayers living on the unassumed and private roadways owned by the city diligently pay their taxes and also volunteer their free time to manage the essential roadways because the city will not .(Road associations) When asked which part of the city road maintenance they find the hardest, the reply is “ collecting fees and maintaining a workable budget “. Does the city offer a property tax subsidy that would eliminate these hardships and guarantee the Associations budget on an annual basis?

    Biomed asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, the municipality does not have a tax subsidy to assist associations with road maintenance on unassumed and private roads. Although we understand the challenges faced by these associations it is not the municipality’s role to provide guaranteed budgets to these groups.

    Assumed roads are maintained with year round service and standards.

    Private roads, laneways and driveways are not owned by the City, and therefore are maintained by the owner(s).  The level of service (seasonal vs. winter maintenance) is at the owner(s) discretion. Liability to the City is not covered for works on these private lands.

    In most cases unassumed roads are used seasonally as well, and service seasonal properties. These unassumed roads rarely meet the City’s minimum standards for maintenance so summer maintenance and winter control are not easily implemented (and are typically at additional expense to the taxpayer above normal maintenance).

  • How many years would it take to upgrade the road infrastructure?

    Grant asked 6 months ago

    Kawartha Lakes has 5400 lane kilometers of road and the municipality’s road assets have a replacement value of approximately $1.75 billion.

    In order to maintain our current roads network we will spend approximately $52 million in 2019. This has increased 90% over the past ten years as Council has prioritized investment in infrastructure.

    There are three types of road surface: gravel, hi-float and asphalt. There are 895 km of gravel roads, 854 km of asphalt roads and 949 km of surface treatment or hi-float roads.

    High volume gravel roads have a life span of 5-7 years while lower volume gravel roads are 10 years. Hi-float roads have a life cycle of 12 years and asphalt roads are expected to last for 20 years.

    If by ‘upgrading the road infrastructure’ you mean bringing gravel roads up to a hard top level, there are a number of challenges with this. The most significant would be cost. Although the hard surface would provide an enhanced service level and decreased operating costs, the lifecycle costs increase due to the capital costs.

    To upgrade a road to an asphalt surface, the road base must also be upgraded along with roadside upgrades such as ditching in most cases.

    The municipality will spend approximately $52 million on roads in 2019 which is approximately 35% of City expenses.

    Thank you for your question!
  • Is road maintenance essential for the emergency service vehicles to get to taxpayers paying for those services? Why can’t the city provide road maintenance for unassumed and private roads. People could die.

    Biomed asked 6 months ago

    Our emergency services respond to calls on all roads whether they are assumed, unassumed or private. Fire, police and paramedics have responded to calls by boat, ATV and snowmobile when conditions weren’t suitable for their regular vehicles.

    Legally, the City has no obligation to provide maintenance on unassumed and private roads however in the past various services have been provided by on these roads. Staff are currently working on a database of all road segments in the municipality so that we understand how many unassumed and private roads there are in the municipality. This database is expected to take a couple of years to complete as it includes almost 4500 road segments.

    The challenge with maintaining all the unassumed and private roads would be the cost. It is difficult to maintain our current assumed road infrastructure and keep taxes at a reasonable level.

    Once the database is complete staff will be bringing a report to Council to outline the options available for maintenance to unassumed and private roads along with cost estimates. Private roads, laneways and driveways are not intended to be maintained at taxpayer expense.

    Thank you for your question!

  • Is the city planning on spending millions to lower speed limits ? Seems ineffective and symbolic at best. Use the money for road maintenance.

    Biomed asked 6 months ago

    In November 2018 Council directed staff to investigate the feasibility of reducing the general speed limit of urban or settlement areas from 50 km/h to 40km/h. On July 16, 2019 staff provided a report to Council providing information on the effect the speed reduction would have. The report is available on the municipal website in the agenda for July 16, 2019.

    Council Agendas and Minutes

    Council made the following motion:

    Moved By Councillor Dunn
    Seconded By Councillor Yeo

    That Report ENG2019-013, Request for City Wide Speed Reduction, be received;

    That Council approve Option 2 - All Designated Community Speed Zones - With Exclusions, as detailed in Report ENG2019-013;

    That the matter be referred to the Communications Division to develop a public consultation and planned education campaign; and

    That the matter be placed in the 2020 Budget for staged implementation commencing in January 2020.

    The municipality would implement speed limit reductions in a cost-effective way, utilizing in-house resources for education, communications and signage installation. There would be a cost for additional signs but the City would not be ‘spending millions to lower speed limits’.

    Thank you for your question!

  • Everyone agrees that road improvement is a high priority for CoKL's, but my question is what criteria are being used to determine the priority of the necessary road improvements? How does the City determine that the entire length of Kilarney Bay Road (C.R. 21) required repaving versus a pothole riddled road like Northline Road (especially the section from Mitchell's bridge to Hwy 35)? I know the residents of CoKL would like to know how these decisions are made.

    Khaggert asked 6 months ago

    I will answer this question generally rather than address just the specific sections you have referred to.

    The municipality’s strategy is two-fold: we need to make our bad roads better and keep our good roads good.

    There is a Roads Needs Study completed every 5 years, where roads are prioritized based on condition rating, traffic volume and classification by local, collector and arterial status. This identifies the roads that will be reconstructed each year for the 5 years outlined in the plan. These are reviewed every year taking maintenance records into account.

    In order to keep the good roads good (and off the capital improvements list), they have to be resurfaced and treated regularly before they become significantly distressed. This lifecycle management program utilizes crack sealing, single surface treatment, slurry sealing, micro resurfacing, asphalt overlays and drainage improvements.

    Engineering also works closely with Water and Wastewater to ensure coordination of projects. For example, a number of roads in downtown Lindsay are being reconstructed this summer as water and wastewater infrastructure is being replaced.

    A list of recommended projects is presented to Council each year as part of the budget process.

    The Roads Needs Study and a list of roads scheduled for reconstruction and resurfacing are available on the Kawartha Lakes website at

    More information on the reconstruction and resurfacing programs are also available in the Roads 101 – Engineering presentation in the Document Library.

    For information on the specific sections you have referenced please contact our Customer Service department at 705-324-9411. They will provide you with a tracking number for your inquiry and staff will respond to the issue.

    Thank you for your question!
  • Why is the Deputy Mayor having these meetings?

    6 months ago

    As part of a focus on community engagement, the Deputy Mayor will be hosting round table meetings throughout the municipality each year. In 2019 the topic for discussion is our roads network.

    Deputy Mayor Doug Elmslie will chair the round table meetings where community representatives will discuss issues and concerns regarding roads and will recommend three actions that will be presented to Council.

    Community representatives will be invited by the Ward Councillor to participate. Members of the public are welcome to attend to listen to the conversation and there will be a question and answer period.

    Council is committed to engaging the community in different ways to gather feedback and suggestions on important issues.