Upcoming half-load restrictions will affect local businesses

PALMER RAPIDS – During the regular council meeting held on October 3, Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan (BLR) councillors expressed concerns over a dangerous stretch of road and upcoming half-load road restrictions which will have a negative impact on a number of local workers.

Councillor Trevor Lidtkie expressed his concern about an upcoming half-load restriction to be enforced on Highway 62 at Hastings Highlands between Combermere and Purdy and leading up to Maynooth.
As a result of the restriction, trucks with full loads will be forced to be re-routed during the slotted time frame.According to Lidtkie this regulation will impact a number of local businesses travelling to Toronto or Trenton; for example, including Gro-Bark, Pastway Planing, Neuman’s, Gulick’s and Stein’s lumber mills, along with logging companies including Trevor Lidtkie’s and E. Schutt & Sons.

Lidtkie said the worst impact would be when Highway 515 to 514, out of Palmer Rapids to Hardwood Lake, goes to half load because of increased heavy load traffic, which the road is not built for.
“Has anybody said let’s petition the government to help the municipality? If you start putting half loads on highways leading in and out of this area they may as well just choke us completely,” Lidtkie said.
“Exactly, I’m with you,” Councillor Heather Phanenhour agreed.
“You give it a year and we will not be driving out of this municipality in either direction in the spring of the year,” Lidtkie continued.
“Maybe that’s all we need is just some kind of communication with Hastings right now to see where they stand,” Phanenhour said.
Councillor Garry Gruntz said there should be a letter to Renfrew County as well, in anticipation of the repercussions to those affected.
“I think the right channel to go is through making Renfrew County aware and have them communicate with Hastings,” Councillor Steve Jessup said.
Reeve Norman Lentz agreed with members that the matter needs to be taken seriously.
“If it wasn’t for the mills it would be a pretty desolate place to live,” Lentz said.
Clerk Michelle Mantifel said she could talk to Craig Davidson at Hastings Highlands and have an update for next month’s meeting.
Mantifel gave an update regarding Renfrew County’s response to earlier concerns over the section of road on Highway 515 which winds around next to Wingle Road, and has proved to be a very dangerous stretch of road in the township.
“The County of Renfrew is going to install Slippery When Wet signs down at the corner,” Mantifel said.
“That’s all they’re doing?” Phanenhour asked with surprise.
“Just because we don’t lie in the Pembroke area, or general area, we’re still part of that county,” Lidtkie said.
Phanenhour and Lidtkie said that the unsafe stretch of road extends further than the corner.
Phanenhour called the road a sinkhole, and noted that a couple of years back when repairs were needed, there had been talk to relocate the bridge to a different location, other than Latchford Bridge.
“They can’t dispute the numbers. It’s probably statistically the worst corner in the county for the amount of wrecks in the past years,” Councillor Jessup said.
Mantifel said she will be sending a letter to the county, expressing the concerns of councillors.
Mantifel said that the BLR fire chief and the deputy chief will be meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources to discuss and review their Forest Fire Agreement, and wondered if anyone from council could attend as a council representative.
Lidtkie indicated an interest in attending, and Phanenhour said that because of the importance of the matter, it would be good if more than one councillor could attend.
Gruntz said he had spoken to BLR Fire Chief John Rutledge who wondered about the fire department transfer of responsibility in the Craigmont Road area.
Gruntz said that Rutledge was looking for a formal agreement for a straight exchange in fire services between Raglan Fire Hall and Madawaska Valley (MV) Fire Hall. The exchange would mean lower Craigmont Road, which is currently serviced by Raglan but due to closer proximity, be serviced by MV.
Story continues in the October 10, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.