White stuff stirs stormy de­bate

Coun­cil has so­lu­tion, but what’s the prob­lem? coun­cil­lor

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY BILL BOW­MAN

A de­bate about whether to re­clas­sify a street dom­i­nated the March 7 meet­ing of the Town of Car­bon­ear. And in the end, mem­bers of coun­cil passed a mo­tion to change Lon­don Road from a “col­lec­tor street” to a “ lo­cal street A” on the town’s snow­clear­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tions.

The change did not sit well with Coun. David Kennedy, who cast the lone vote against the mo­tion. He doesn’t ap­pre­ci­ate the change, which ef­fec­tively sees Lon­don Road move from Pri­or­ity 1 to 2.

Kennedy sug­gested, “ we tried to find a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem that didn’t ex­ist.”

Ac­cord­ing to the town’s pri­or­i­ties for street widen­ing, col­lec­tor streets are de­fined as, “the net­work of streets that con­nect var­i­ous com­mu­nity ar­eas with the com­mer­cial ar­eas and ... the pro­vin­cial road net­work. They carry medium to large vol­umes of traf­fic at medium speeds.”

A lo­cal street A can also act as a col­lec­tor street, but takes sec­ond place be­hind col­lec­tor streets on the pri­or­ity list. The list pri­or­i­tizes streets dur­ing se­vere con­di­tions and street widen­ing op­er­a­tions only. The pri­or­ity sys­tem is not used dur­ing reg­u­lar snow clear­ing routes when roads are be­ing cleared af­ter a snow­fall.

Kennedy said he was “amazed and per­plexed to see new snow­clear­ing routes de­signed and im­ple­mented for the 2010-2011 win­ter (sea­son) be­fore coun­cil­lors had seen the route.”

Kennedy felt “ we should jus­tify do­ing it, es­pe­cially when there are con­se­quences for res­i­dents.”

Pub­lic works di­rec­tor Brian O’Grady told The Com­pass af­ter­wards there should be no con­se­quences for any­one be­cause, as far as he is con­cerned, the move­ment of Lon­don Road from col­lec­tor to lo­cal street has had no bear­ing on the pri­or­ity it is given for snow­clear­ing.

Begs to dif­fer

When coun­cil­lors were given copies of the snow­clear­ing routes on Feb. 7, Kennedy said he no­ticed they were some­what dif­fer­ent than those pre­sented in Novem­ber 2009.

Kennedy said “Lon­don Road had gone from first on its route in the 2009-10 sea­son to last in 2010-11.”

In fact, he pointed out, “this year’s route is the re­verse of last year’s as the loader (now) pro­gresses from In­dus­trial Park to For­est Road and then to the Lon­don Road area.” He noted the plow used to en­ter Lon­don Road from Pow­ell Drive and pro­ceed west to­wards Colum­bus Drive. He sug­gested there was a trade-off be­tween Lon­don Road and For­est Road.

O’Grady felt Kennedy was im­ply­ing the town was favour­ing the For- est Road area by plow­ing it first. “ That’s not the case,” O’Grady said, adding, “ we have al­ways cleared the For­est Road area be­fore the Lon­don Road area.” He said no routes have been re­versed.

Not ac­cept­able

On Feb. 9, Kennedy noted, “ Lon­don Road did not get a cut un­til 8:30 a.m. and some lanes were not com­pleted un­til ap­prox­i­mately 10 a.m.” On the same day dur­ing what Kennedy de­scribed as “per­haps the big­gest snow­fall this win­ter, the civic cen­tre park­ing lot was plowed com­pletely by 7:15 a.m., yet many roads were left snow cov­ered un­til al­most din­ner time.”

O’Grady ex­plained that was a one­time oc­cur­rence.

“ While the sand truck op­er­a­tor was wait­ing for the plow op­er­a­tor to clear a road on the north side of town, be­fore he could sand it, I asked him to make a few passes through the civic cen­tre park­ing lot.”

O’Grady ad­mit­ted snow­clear­ing was slower than nor­mal and Lon­don Road was late be­ing done on Feb. 9. But, he said, “ it had noth­ing to do with any route changes and all to do with the vol­ume of snow.”

Re­fer­ring to Lon­don Road, Mayor Sam Slade said, “ for that street not to be open by 11 or 12 in the day is not ac­cept­able.”

Kennedy con­tended, “this coun­cil does not feel Lon­don Road is a col­lec­tor road, so they put for­ward a mo­tion to change it to a lo­cal road. Hav­ing it la­belled as Pri­or­ity 2 jus­ti­fies chang­ing the route of the loader so that Lon­don Road could go from first to last on its route.

O’Grady said Lon­don Road has not been moved from first to last on its route; in fact, he said, no routes have changed.

Not good enough

“Not start­ing Lon­don Road be­fore 4:30 a.m. af­ter a 20 to 30 cen­time­tre snow­storm was not good enough and was noth­ing short of ridicu­lous,” Kennedy sug­gested.

“So now coun­cil is try­ing to please the res­i­dents of Lon­don Road by hav­ing a dump truck at­tempt to cut through Lon­don Road and it’s ad­join­ing lanes.”

Not wish­ing to see piles of snow com­ing off the wing of the equip­ment and block­ing all lanes on the north side, Kennedy said he ar­gued against one cut through Lon­don Road. He said he also ar­gued for Lon­don Road to be com­pleted on the north side, but to have the lanes join­ing Pond­side Road to be done as the loader pro­gressed (along the street).”

Pre­ferred routes?

Now that coun­cil has de­cided to plow Lon­don Road with a dump truck, Kennedy wants to know “what hap­pens if the dump truck can­not open the road due to drifts or it is con­tin­u­ously called to sand hills in the town. Res­i­dents of Lon­don Road will have to wait for the loader which cleared the roads in early morn­ing last year un­til coun­cil’s pre­ferred routes are com­pleted.”

Since no one had any prob­lems with snow­clear­ing in the 2009-10 sea­son, Kennedy would like to know, “why did the routes have to change?”

Mayor Slade said at no time was it coun­cil’s in­ten­tion to see Lon­don Road used as a scape­goat to en­hance snow­clear­ing in other ar­eas.

“ Bu t why w a s i t c h a nged? Kennedy shot back.

Coun. Ed Goff sug­gested, “ you have to give (the pub­lic works di­rec­tor) a chance” to prove the sys­tem works.

Town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis said, “since the last storm, we haven’t had enough snow to test whether it’s work­ing or not.”

By send­ing a dump truck with a wing plow to start Lon­don Road at 5 a.m., Lon­don Road res­i­dents should see an im­prove­ment, said O’Grady.

Davis ex­plained the only rea­son Lon­don Road’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion was changed was be­cause “it didn’t fit the strict def­i­ni­tion of a col­lec­tor street. But that doesn’t change how we clear snow for it.”

From left: Siob­han and Amanda Butt, Cassie King and Ken­dra Kelly take a break from their busy sched­ule of slid­ing and hav­ing fun to en­joy their juice and cook­ies, cour­tesy of Do­min­ion. Siob­han Butt slides down the hill at the south­side play­ground while her mom, Tina, looks on from above. They were among the large crowd of chil­dren and par­ents who took ad­van­tage of the snow and ideal weather con­di­tions to en­joy a win­ter’s af­ter­noon of out­door fun as part of the town’s an­nual Win­ter Car­ni­val.

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