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Winsor worried about state of Holyrood retaining wall

By Craig Westcott/November 25, 2022

Holyrood councillor Steve Winsor is warning his colleagues to consult the Town’s lawyers before taking action on what he says is a dangerous retaining wall on Harbourview Drive in the Marina Shores subdivision.

Last week marked the second meeting in a row that Winsor, who chairs Holyrood’s infrastructure and public works committee, raised the matter, catching himself the first time in fear of saying something that might have legal ramifications.

Winsor said the committee members spoke in great length about the retaining wall at their last meeting.

“It is of great concern to all of us,” said Winsor. “It is a safety issue. There are standards we need to think about, there are engineering requirements, there’s constructability and rehabilitation. I mean we just can’t go down there right now and roll up our sleeves and grab an excavator. We could make the problem worse. Something needs to be done, we just need to make sure it’s done in the right way. And we need to engage with our legal counsel as to what we should or should not do, because there’s privately held land owned by a developer. So, it was a very lengthy and emotional discussion (at the committee meeting).”

At the Town’s October 18 council meeting, Winsor was even more emphatic about an incident involving the retaining wall in Marina Shores.

“I’m just so thankful that nobody was hurt,” Winsor said at that time. “When we first got sworn-in on council, I did up a briefing note for all of council and staff on areas in the town I thought were of concern, that some residents had brought forward to me, and I shared their concern. The first reaction from a lot of people was, ‘There’s not going to be any landslides in Holyrood. That doesn’t happen here.’ Well, it does happen here. So, it is serious, and we do need to have some consistent standard so that it’s done properly… Now I don’t want to expound on it too much, because I do believe there are some legal implications here, potentially, with the residents and the developer and the Town. That’s something that is going to have to be discussed in the proper forums, and I don’t want to prejudice that. But I do think that council needs to be mindful of and aware of the fact that the committee is working on improvements around retaining walls, so things can be done in the proper and safe way by good contractors and developers.”

In other infrastructure committee news, Winsor said there has been a fair bit of discussion lately about the need for crosswalks in some parts of town.

“There were some residents who came forward suggesting or recommending or requesting crosswalks,” he explained. “In some instances, those are very valid. And in some they may not be.”

Winsor said there is a process involved when it comes to putting in crosswalks, especially on Route 60, which is a provincial government highway. 

“There is a process whereby if the Town is in agreement and supportive of the request that we go forward with an application to the Province,” Winsor said. “They have their criteria that they assess and approve or deny.”

There are some places, such as roads with blind turns or poor sightlines, or where people have to cross the road to get to a daycare or trail, where crosswalks may be valid, Winsor allowed. 

“We can’t have crosswalks all through (the town), but there are a couple that are very valid and we’re supporting the director in making an application to the province,” he said. 

Winsor noted there have also been requests for more ‘Hidden Driveway” signs.

“If you drive around this municipality, there are tons of hidden driveways,” Winsor admitted. “We could have signs everywhere for that. But there are a few areas in particular where it’s very valid and what we discussed is that maybe in a broader sense on those sections of road we could have a sign that’s not mentioning a driveway specifically but (advise motorists to) be mindful that in this section there are many hidden driveways ahead, or there’s a blind hill or a blind turn.”

There are still things to be worked out on how to approach the issue, Winsor said. “Because if there are signs everywhere, it just loses its effect,” he argued. “So, we’ve got to do that right.”

Work has been completed on the undeveloped section of Kennedy’s Lane, Winsor reported.

“It’s a very problematic area,” he said. “You had a number of weather events and some residents have been impacted by that and you want to future proof the area, accommodate for the climate change, and so on. There has been ditching and rock lining completed, French drains completed, and as we discussed with the director, there’s some monitoring required.”

That way, the Town will be able to tell from the next storm if the steps taken so far are working or not, or if more measures are needed, said the councillor. 

“There has been some good work done.” he added. “I don’t know if it’s all done yet. Like I said, we’ve got to monitor it.”

Two aerator pumps have been installed at the wastewater treatment plant. 

“It’s good news,” said Winsor. “That will help being that plant up to operational capacity as it should be… However, we do have some sediment that has built up there and on an urgent basis we’re looking to have that removed so that we can have that plant as optimized as possible.”

Winsor said his group is also looking at devising a preventative maintenance routine for the plant to forestall future problems. “That is a top priority for this committee,” he said.

And finally, the Town has approved a new policy regarding standards for gravel roads. 

“The Holyrood Gravel Roads Standards document has been prepared to manage growth within the municipality with present and future transportation needs, local economic considerations and other relevant factors considered,” said councillor Sadie King, who introduced the motion to adopt the standards. It was approved unanimously.

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