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Not impressed

Holyrood councillor surprised by minister’s response to town’s concerns

A response from the Minister of Transportation to input he requested from Holyrood council has left some members of council perplexed.

Earlier this year, ahead of the summer construction season, provincial Transportation Minister Steve Crocker asked the Town for its input on what road projects it would like to see tackled.

“Council provided a list of summer maintenance concerns that the Town would like addressed,” said Holyrood’s chief administrative officer, Gary Corbett. “We went back and wrote again and basically asked how come a lot of the priorities weren’t addressed.”

To that, said Corbett, the minister replied that Holyrood’s concerns had been passed along to the local area depot for “potential inclusion” in the summer maintenance plan. 

“The depot did address your municipality’s top priority of pothole patching,” wrote Crocker, “and in addition conducted shouldering and cross-cut repairs on the provincial roadways in the Holyrood area. At this time, operational staff from the department have entered into winter maintenance season. While crews are still doing some summer maintenance when they can, because of the weather and equipment priorities, most items, such as ditching and culvert replacement, will have to be reviewed for completion during 2020 summer maintenance. Should you have any further questions on maintenance activities feel free to contact the superintendent of operations.”

Councillor Jim Joy, who heads Holyrood’s infrastructure and public works committee, allowed there was some patch work done on sections of the road in the southside of town. But he didn’t seem to think that was enough.

“As the Town has highlighted on various occasions, due to the deteriorating conditions on the largest section of this road, the whole road requires resurfacing from Mahers Bridge to the boundary,” said Joy, adding council will continue to “pursue that.”

Joy said the other items noted in the Town’s letter to the minister also need to be dealt with. “These problem priority areas, which were forwarded to the Department of Transportation and Works at their request, have been causing continuing damage for years on our provincial roads.” said the councillor. “The damage is not only being caused on the provincial roads with risks and safety issues to walkers and drivers, but it is causing ongoing damage to private property and to our own Town roads.”

One washout on Route 60 – between the start of North Side Road and the top of the hill – has been happening for years and years, said Joy. 

“So, a permanent fix is needed with proper drainage installed in a number of locations,” Joy said. “I think a different approach by the Department of Transportation and Works is needed, realizing that they have a big area to cover, but scheduling of this work is necessary and will provide cost savings in the long term. So, I ask that a further review of these problem areas be done with a commitment that the ongoing problem be corrected.”

Mayor Gary Goobie noted that Harbour Main MHA Helen Conway Ottenheimer raised the same concerns with the minister in the House of Assembly. “So, she’s well aware of it and she has committed herself to represent us in the House as we continue to impress on the minister the need to have this work rectified because it is becoming very problematic, as well as a safety issue,” said Goobie.

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