Bay Roberts denies payment for damage caused by manhole

By Mark Squibb/July 29, 2022

The Town of Bays Roberts has said ‘No,’ to a resident’s request that the Town pay for damages to her vehicle caused by a raised manhole along the main road, which happens to be a Provincial road.

Council just a few months back aired its frustration that the provincial government would not be funding upgrades to the road.

“This has happened before, and was one of our main points in our statement and our disappointment in not getting funding to upgrade this highway,” said Mayor Walter Yetman. “This is one of the reasons this needs to get done, because it’s a major safety concern. When manhole covers pop up, that can cause a lot of damage and possible injury. And, so, here we go again, where we have our infrastructure that’s being exposed and being affected because of the condition of the road — I’ll make that strong assumption, that it’s because of the condition of the road.”

Town CAO Nigel Black said he didn’t believe the Town was liable for the damage.

“When it comes down to liability, I don’t think that in a case like this, we would be liable for the damages to the vehicle or anything else, because there was no negligence, as soon as we were made aware that there was a problem we did go and fix it,” explained Black. “Unfortunately for this person, the damage had already occurred.”

Black summarized by saying that though the Town was not liable, it would be up to the discretion of council as to whether it would cover the cost of the damages.

Councillor Silas Badcock suggested council refer the problem onto the provincial government, however, Yetman noted the manhole belongs to the Town.

Black noted further that had it been a pothole that caused the damage, the Town could refer the matter to the provincial government, but as it was a manhole, it could not.

“But, like the mayor said, it is likely caused by the condition of the road, so there’s cause and effect there,” said Black.

Councillor Dean Franey made the motion to deny the request.

“We’ve denied it in the past to other people, and there’s not really much we can do,” said Franey. “Our infrastructure is being beat up because of the state the government got that road in.”

Yetman concurred.

“It’s another unfortunate incident, but we weren’t aware,” said Yetman.

Councilors Bowering and Badcock voted against the motion to deny payment for the damages.

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