Pot­hole sea­son has ar­rived

‘Up there with the worst streets that I’ve seen’

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY NANCY KING CAPE BRE­TON POST nk­ing@cb­post.com

In the spring a young man’s fancy may turn to thoughts of love, but in the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, most res­i­dents seem to turn their thoughts to pot­holes.

To il­lus­trate the point, res­i­dents of Stan­field Street in the Ashby neigh­bour­hood of Syd­ney had a pe­ti­tion tabled at last week’s CBRM coun­cil meet­ing on their be­half ask­ing that the street be con­sid­ered for repaving.

“This street is in de­plorable con­di­tion,” said Dist. 6 Coun. Ray Paruch, who rep­re­sents the area on coun­cil. “We’ve got to do some­thing with this.”

He noted he sur­veyed the street prior to the pe­ti­tion com­ing to coun­cil and counted 22 houses on it, 21 of which had wa­ter cuts in front of them that had been patched, and also noted the street is with­out side­walks.

“Some­thing has to be done, I don’t know what can be done,” he said, de­scrib­ing Stan­field Street as be­ing “up there with the worst streets that I’ve seen.”

Re­ac­tion from other mem­bers of coun­cil about the pe­ti­tion ranged from com­mend­ing res­i­dents for act­ing to bring their con­cerns for­ward, to con­cerns it may open a del­uge of sim­i­lar pe­ti­tions about other streets in dis­re­pair, to ap­pre­hen­sion that peo­ple they think their street can jump the “worst-first” queue.

Di­rec­tor of pub­lic works Wayne MacDon­ald said the CBRM has had chal­lenges in­volv­ing fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions to other lev­els of gov­ern­ment in sup­port of its paving projects. He did note that Stan­field Street is on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s list of iden­ti­fied streets and de­scribed it as be­ing, “fairly high up,” but con­di­tional on fund­ing.

“Cer­tainly, we would want more money, more money helps when it comes to cap­i­tal re­pairs across the CBRM,” he said.

Dist. 9 Coun. Ge­orge MacDon­ald said there are many streets in his district he would like to see paved, but he’s been telling res­i­dents about the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s worst-first pol­icy.

“I’m not down­grad­ing the im­por­tance of this street in Syd­ney but I’m just say­ing … when you start set­ting a prece­dent,” he said. “I’ve been pa­tient and I just fol­low the list.

“I watch that list closer than I watch the hockey or ball scores.”

One street that many mo­torists have re­cently com­plained about is the sec­tion of Prince Street ap­proach­ing Ashby cor­ner in Syd­ney.

Dist. 10 Coun. Bruckschwaiger, who rep­re­sents the area in­clud­ing Gar­diner Mines and Do­min­ion, said even he gets calls about the con­di­tion of Ashby cor­ner. He noted that a pe­ti­tion is a way for res­i­dents to speak up on is­sues af­fect­ing them.

Bruckschwaiger said he ex­pected the sit­u­a­tion would start to im­prove a bit once as­phalt plants get up and run­ning.

“We’ve got all kinds of is­sues, but it’s all about money,” he said.

Dist. 2 Coun. Ear­lene MacMullin said there’s no in­di­ca­tion the Stan­field Street res­i­dents were try­ing to su­per­sede the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s paving list.

“They have ev­ery right and rea­son to come to­gether … if they want to get to­gether as a com­mu­nity to ex­press their dis­taste in some­thing they have ev­ery right to do that and we as a coun­cil should com­pletely re­spect what was done,” she said.

“Ob­vi­ously if they think they have to go to a pe­ti­tion in the hopes that their road will get done first, then we as CBRM are not ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic enough to un­der­stand why the road is not done.”

Mayor Ce­cil Clarke noted that when any­one pro­vides a writ­ten pe­ti­tion to the coun­cil it is tabled for the record so it’s rec­og­nized that coun­cil re­ceived it. There is no ac­tion taken other than to re­fer it to the de­part­ment re­spon­si­ble.

Another street Syd­ney res­i­dents have long called to be repaved is Ferry Street, in the north end. Deputy Mayor El­don MacDon­ald noted it has been at the top of the list since he was first elected. How­ever, in 2015 the CBRM was told pro­vin­cial fund­ing fo­cus was on waste­water, and was directed to re­sub­mit its road list in 2017.

“We don’t have a mil­lion dol­lars to do Ferry Street, it has to be cost-shared,” El­don MacDon­ald said, ad­ding that un­der the fed­eral fund­ing pro­gram, roads needed to reach the 10,000-ve­hi­cle move­ment thresh­old for eli­gi­bil­ity.

“Some peo­ple don’t ac­cept that fact, but that’s the re­al­ity of the pol­icy of that pro­gram,” he said. “So we’re tear­ing up what would be seen to be by the pub­lic as in fairly good con­di­tion com­pared to oth­ers, yet we say do­ing worst first.”

He said that Ot­tawa has now changed the road count to 1,000. Dist. 1. Coun. Clarence Prince said it’s re­gret­table that res­i­dents feel the need to sub­mit pe­ti­tions, but noted it is a cash-strapped, job-starved com­mu­nity. He noted some roads are in such poor con­di­tion res­i­dents have sug­gested the as­phalt be torn up and they be re­turned to dirt roads.

“How sad and how back­ward would that be if we ever con­sid­ered that?” he s aid.

IM­AGE COUR­TESY OF GOOGLE MAPS

This im­age from Google Maps shows Stan­field Street in Syd­ney.

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