Road is­sue resur­faces


The con­tro­ver­sial name­less road, which runs par­al­lel to Colum­bus Drive and con­nects the top of English Hill with Bunker Hill, is back on the Car­bon­ear town coun­cil’s radar.

Coun­cil rat­i­fied a mo­tion at its Oct. 18 reg­u­lar meet­ing to write the pro­vin­cial min­is­ter of trans­porta­tion, ask­ing his depart­ment to in­ves­ti­gate a so­lu­tion to the ex­ist­ing prob­lem with re­spect to emer­gency ac­cess to Bunker Hill. A copy of the let­ter will also be for­warded to lo­cal MHA Jerome Kennedy. The mo­tion had al­ready been passed at an Oct. 4 priv­i­leged meet­ing.

This marked the first time the road has come up for pub­lic dis­cus­sion since Au­gust when it fu­eled a heated de­bate be­tween Coun. Gla­dys Mercer and Mayor Sam Slade.

At the time, Mercer ac­cused Slade of breach­ing con­flict of in­ter­est rules when he voted at a July 20 coun­cil meet­ing to have the lane graded. And Slade ac­cused Mercer of mak­ing per­sonal attacks against him.

The con­tro­ver­sial mo­tion to grade the road was passed by a slim ma­jor­ity of 4-3, with Slade cast­ing the de­cid­ing vote.

Dur­ing the many dis­cus­sions and de­bates the name­less road has sparked over the last two years, Slade, who re­sides at the top of Bunker Hill near the west end of the road, has some­times left the coun­cil cham­bers be­cause of a per­ceived con­flict of in­ter­est, and some­times re­mained.

For ex­am­ple, dur­ing the many de­bates over an ap­pli­ca­tion from a cou­ple to con­struct a dwelling house on the road, Slade would va­cate the chair. But dur­ing the de­bate over snow clear­ing on the road to pro­vide em­re­gency ac­cess to Bunker Hill, he re­mained, backed by coun­cil, which main­tained that snow clear­ing was not an en­hance­ment, but only a ser­vice pro­vided to all cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing the mayor.

At the Au­gust meet­ing he de­fended his de­ci­sion to re­main and de­bate the is­sue dur­ing the July meet­ing, ar­gu­ing he had been ad­vised there was no con­flict. “I was told that if it was just reg­u­lar main­te­nance, I had a right to rep­re­sent the peo­ple of Bunker Hill. If we were talk­ing about new pave­ment, yes, I would be in a con­flict be­cause it would en­hance the value...”

Mercer coun­tered at the time that, “when you declare your­self in con­flict once, you’re al­ways in con­flict. You can’t change that.”

Dur­ing the most re­cent de­bate Oct. 18, Slade opted to va­cate the chair and cham­bers, leav­ing Deputy Mayor Ches Ash to pre­side over the meet­ing.

When coun­cil de­cided late last year to dis­con­tinue clear­ing snow from the name­less road, Bunker Hill res­i­dents lob­bied hard to have the road main­tained, in­clud­ing cir­cu­lat­ing a pe­ti­tion.

The town fi­nally re­scinded its de­ci­sion in Jan­uary, clearly stat­ing at the time it was still not rec­og­niz­ing it as a pub­lic road, and main­tain­ing, “use by the gen­eral pub­lic is not per­mit­ted.”

Ear­lier this year coun­cil erected a sign at the east end of the gravel road ad­vis­ing mo­torists it was not for pub­lic use, but for emer­gency use only.

Change of ad­dress

Coun­cil passed a mo­tion to re­im­burse seven house­holds on Blue­berry Cres­cent for ex­penses they in­curred when the town changed the name of their street from South­well Place to Blue­berry Cres­cent.

Each house­hold will re­ceive a cheque for $75 from coun­cil to cover the $ 30 Canada Post charges for change-of-ad­dress, plus what­ever costs the house­hold­ers may have in­curred in hav­ing to change the num­bers on their homes.

Down­town devel­op­ment

In re­sponse to a ques­tion, town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis said pol­icy stip­u­lates that at least 25 per cent of a build­ing in the down­town (Wa­ter Street) area should be used for com­mer­cial pur­poses.

Mercer re­minded coun­cil the pol­icy was put in place in an ef­fort to main­tain as much of the down­town core as pos­si­ble for com­mer­cial devel­op­ment, so the area wouldn’t all be­come res­i­den­tial apart­ments.

Be­fore any fur­ther dis­cus­sion on the is­sue could pro­ceed, Ash said the is­sue was sched­uled for dis­cus­sion dur­ing the priv­i­leged meet­ing, and “that’s where it should be dis­cussed.”

Un­li­censed ve­hi­cles

Mercer asked the town ad­min­is­tra­tor for some clar­i­fi­ca­tion on coun­cil’s pol­icy re­gard­ing un­li­censed ve­hi­cles on pri­vate prop­er­ties.

“Would you see a ve­hi­cle be­ing used as a stor­age shed as a per­mis­si­ble use,” Mercer in­quired?

Davis said some peo­ple may have two or three ve­hi­cles on their prop­erty, which are not scrapped, but not li­censed. Coun­cil pol­icy only per­mits one ve­hi­cle.

“But it’s not the in­tent of the pol­icy to have a van used as a stor­age shed?” Mercer con­tin­ued.

Be­fore she could of­fer any clar­i­fi­ca­tion, Davis felt the is­sue ob­vi­ously needs more dis­cus­sion.

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