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Holyrood councillors girding for meeting with the Minister

By Craig Westcott

Holyrood councillor Steve Windsor has joined CBS councillor Gerard Tilley in condemning the Province for failing to allocate money for repairs to Route 60 in last month’s provincial budget.

Tilley lambasted the Province during his town’s March 19 public council meeting arguing “something’s got to give” when it comes to the condition of parts of Route 60, which is the main road through Conception Bay South and also through Holyrood. 

On Tuesday, Windsor, who chairs Holyrood’s infrastructure and public works committee, joined the chorus of complaint.

“I was extremely disappointed, I used the word disgusted, that our Route 60, which comes through our community and connects many communities, it’s a provincial responsibility, was left off the list (of road work) for this year’s budget,” said Windsor. “We’ve made recommendations to the Province for the last several years based on facts. We’ve sought feedback from the residents through the provincial (engagement) program. It appears to be falling on deaf ears.”

Windsor added that a certain section of the route through Holyrood, which serves as a detour whenever there is a disruption that closes the TransCanada Highway and traffic has to be diverted down through town, “has done more than its fair share” in serving the province.

“That road has taken a heavy burden, an unfair burden, of traffic during those times,” he argued. “Some of those sections of road weren’t done correctly to begin with for the load and increasing load of heavy equipment and tractor trailers and drainage. So, what to do from here? It seems like the only thing that gets done in this province, or gets attention to an issue, is when there’s a protest. I’m not saying that we have to have a protest, but I think I’m getting there in recommending one.”

Windsor said he was sharing the frustration of many residents and not just his own.

Mayor Gary Goobie responded by indicating he is not ready yet to protest outside Confederation Building, but he does share Windsor’s frustration.

“I received an e-mail the other day from the Department of Transportation, right from the minister (John Abbott),” said Goobie. “Him, and his assistant deputy minister who is responsible for roads, and the minister’s liaison person, they want to meet (with us)… It’s important that as many of us as a council meet with the minister, not just myself. That meeting is called for April 9th at 3 p.m., and the minister will be here in the chamber for the second time to meet with council. What they’re going to propose, we don’t know. But we’re led to believe that it’s for a specific reason, and we’ll have to just wait and see. But we will clearly remind him again that we’re going to keep it up until we get some satisfaction and get these roads done. Because everyday they’re getting worse and worse and worse.”

Goobie pointed out there are certain parts of the road through Holyrood that are in good shape thanks to work carried out by the Province in recent years. 

“But not to receive a cent out of this big pool of (provincial budget) money when there’s so much traffic traversing that road everyday?” said the mayor. “Heading from St. John’s and going in both directions, there’s a lot of traffic. And when you don’t get a cent, it’s highly disappointing. And I’m sure we all feel the same way. So, I’m sure we’re going to have an interesting meeting with the minister. I’ll leave it at that.”

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