Citizens voice their concerns

BARRY’S BAY – The Corporation of the Township of Madawaska Valley’s roads, property and planning committee met for their regularly scheduled meeting on September 25, 2012. Among many issues discussed were the removal of a locally constructed berm and a concern about emergency access on Peter Street.

Local resident Phil Windle was present to talk about emergency access issues on Peter Street, as the street ends at St. John Bosco Roman Catholic School.
Windle claims that there is a lack of visibility when emerging from his driveway because of a blind corner.
“There’s very little or no visibility looking to the east and children’s safety is very much an issue. That’s a major concern of why we are here today, representing this particular cause. We really feel that there’s a lot of speed that comes down that road. There are kids on bikes. It’s a very blind spot,” Windle said.
Noting recent road improvements, Windle added that there are some irreversible damages that have been done to the drainage of the street.
“It’s also a tremendous cost to the taxpayers that this road was brought up to the standard of M.T.O [Ministry of Transportation] specs. There’s paving and sidewalks and we have a sewer system in there now, but it’s so far above grade, that it will have to be brought down to a normal level,” Windle noted.
Addressing the adjoining schoolyard, Windle relayed the high children traffic area of the street to the committee.
“The schoolyard on the west is another issue, and we feel that even though there is a fence, the corner is a very active corner and there are lots of kids on bikes, and it’s very much a safety issue,” Windle said.
Windle also brought up the problem of Drohan Creek, as it has suffered from all of the road reparations.
“We are concerned about environmental damage to Drohan Creek. There’s has already been a lot of trees knocked down, and that’s only a small part of what was done because the road was widened, and there will be ditching fairly close to the creek. You’ve got trees getting damaged, you’ve got sand and salt, and carbon monoxide is quite a factor on the roads, these days, and you notice that trees are dying,” Windle noted.
Windle summarized his concern, stating that even though the road has a passable emergency exit, there are a lot of improvements that need to be made for the sake of safety.
“What we are trying to say is that yes – it’s fine for an emergency exit but the road should be gated and chained, if there’s ever a problem on the other end of Sandhill Drive, so that the people do have a chance to get in and get out that way. But going forward, we don’t feel that the road is safe enough as it stands,” Windle said.
Acting Chair Bob Kulas responded to Windle’s concerns, stating that even though the township doesn’t own the road, they are trying to remedy that fact.
“As it sits right now, it’s not open and it’s not ours. But we’ve said what we will do with it when it is ours. I’d like to look at some other things, including the drainage on the road, too. That seems to be a concern,” Windle added.
Licensing Officer Silas Lorbetski is going to look further into the Peter Street issues and will try to have a report ready for the next council meeting.
Local resident Terry Newcombe was on hand to discuss the township’s ordering the removal of a berm he constructed on Paugh Lake Road.
Although the berm was originally verbally approved in 2010, by Hilary Kutchkoskie, council has since rescinded the approval of the project.
“I wanted to start by giving a brief summary. Back in March 2010, I submitted a driveway permit that showed a berm running across the side of my property, on our side of the property line. At that point, I had not had a proper survey done and when I had the survey done, I found that the property line was further from the road than I expected. So I asked Hilary for permission to put a berm on the township side, and the general discussion was that as long we’d have a standard drainage ditch and room for the snowplow, we’d be fine,” Newcombe noted.
After construction of the berm was underway, Newcombe said he continued to encounter roadblocks with the project and was ordered to change the size of the berm.
“So I went ahead with that shortly after Hilary saw it and he said it would have to come down, as it was too big. We compromised on bringing it down in height and moving it further from the road, a bit. And at that point, he came back again and said that it would be acceptable. The following year, I did a lot of work and got ready to put in some shrubs and things and Hilary came by and said it wasn’t acceptable, and council said it had to go. Shortly after that, council visited and explained that it might set a precedent for others to build berms on the township side of the property line,” Newcombe noted.
In putting all of his own money into the project, Newcombe stated his case to council after they visited his property.
“I explained that I had spent a lot of money and put in a lot of physical labour, and I was beautifying it, rather than leaving it as wild roughage, the way it was on the other side of the street,” Newcombe said.
Pointing out that a verbal agreement is a binding contract in the province of Ontario, Newcombe added more fuel to his argument.
“I have a witness to Hilary saying it was okay, and the year after it was first in, Hilary acknowledged himself, saying that it was okay. An oral agreement in Ontario is a legal document, so on that basis, I think it should stay,” Newcombe said.
Newcombe also noted that going along with the township’s current desire to ‘green’ different areas of Barry’s Bay, his berm should fit that bill.
Story continued in the October 3, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.