Slade warns against narrowing roads in Carbonear

By Craig Westcott/October 21, 2021

Carbonear council has agreed to pay over a half a million dollars in invoices related to the upgrading of water, sewer and storm drain services on Valley Road, but now without some grumbling from Deputy Mayor Sam Slade.

The invoices – some $43,782 to Harris & associates for engineering work, and $509,099 to KelCo Construction for the actual pick, shovel and excavator work — pertain to phase III of Valley Road’s upgrading and were presented for payment at the October 5 meeting of council. An unfortunate, but apparently unavoidable consequence of the work is that the driving width of Valley Road has been narrowed.

“I’ve got to ask the question, why was it done in that manner?” asked Slade. “We’ve got school buses coming and going there. The road is way narrower than what it was. I don’t understand it.”

“According to the engineer, it’s not significantly narrower,” replied chief administrative officer Cynthia Davis. “But it is somewhat narrower… And there was a change order approved for an extra half a meter on Valley Road. That was approved the meeting before last. So when it gets paved there’s going to be another half metre that is going to be added to the design that the engineers had completed.”

That didn’t fully satisfy Slade. “I think in the future the Town of Carbonear shouldn’t be looking at narrowing roads,” he said. “If there is any way whatsoever of getting out of it, I don’t think they should be looking at it in that manner.”

Councillor Peter Snow also had a concern, namely that in some places the drains on the road are too high.

“That’s not the case is it?” asked Snow. “There is a place for the water to go.”

Davis said there is a gutter in the road, but there is a section where the old ditch was maintained to accommodate drainage and it ties into the gutter system. “It was designed by professional engineers, yes, that the way that particular section was done,” David added in reply to a further question from Snow.

Councillor Chris O’Grady suggested that in the future it might be a good idea to hold consultations with people living on roads that are earmarked for upgrading and other work. 

“And obviously the next phase will have to be reviewed again,” Davis noted. “But this work is done now. This invoice here is to pay for work done. We can’t change that at this point, obviously.”

That brought Slade back into the discussion. “It’s not my intention to bring up stuff that is probably beyond our control right now,” he said. “But I think it needs to be addressed, for the simple reason that every time we do a project, if we continue to narrow the roads in like that, I think it’s going to be an issue. I mean, we’re going to be here going around like Island Cove. This is very important.”

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