Council sees red over Scarlet Ridge
Couple fed up with unsafe flooding, black ice and want town to fix it
At the centre of a controversial debate Oct. 21 at the Carbonear council meeting, councillors were split regarding an issue with a leak from an underground spring.
Mayor Sam Slade brought up the “ongoing” issue that the spring — located in the south end of town off Saddle Hill — creates unsafe road conditions and has caused the town to invest more money in sand and salt during winter.
“Residents are having a problem on Scarlet Ridge. Water is running from a spring and going onto our road,” Slade said. “In the win- tertime it’s always making black ice.”
He mentioned the road is dangerous for the town’s heavy equipment operators, whose machinery slips while plowing the area.
Director of Public Works Brian O’Grady said the public works committee had already looked into the issue, and the results showed the property was privately owned. A report was issued saying, fixing the leak would not be the town’s responsibility.
Town officials denied a request from The Compass for a copy of the report.
Neighbours affected by spring
Evelyn Avery and Aiden Nugent live on Scarlet Ridge.
“I have called the town every month for the past four years, since we moved here,” Avery told The Compass. “We just want this taken care of.”
Avery said another neighbour — who is currently in Halifax — had flooding issues for almost two decades from the spring.
The spring is located across the street from the couple’s home and less than five metres from a ditch that wraps around their property. They told the town it could use the ditch to reroute the water. That has not happened.
Nugent walked to the spring, rake in hand, and moved debris. The spring began to flow down towards the road, and quickly filled up a deep pothole in front of Avery’s SUV. It also flooded the ground in front of the couple’s garbage box.
Avery and Nugent are concerned it will eventually cause an injury.
“It’s not us we’re worried about,” said Avery. “We have children and grandchildren that visit. We want to make sure no one gets hurt, especially when the water freezes.”
In the past two years Nugent had open-heart surgery and an operation on his knee. Both required rehabilitation, which included walking more frequently.
“We would have to call the town ( for salt and sand) every time we went out (in the winter). It was like a sheet of glass,” Avery said. “I felt like I was always calling the town.”
The property where the spring is located was recently acquired by Jamie Slade. Jamie believed the town was going to take care of the problem, and said it shouldn’t be his responsibility.
He also said councillors who are against fixing the problem don’t have to live on Scarlet Ridge, they don’t “deal with the ice on the road in the winter, and the water there all year round.”
Councillors face off
Coun. Bill Bowman added he heard similar issues while he was campaigning.
“If anything can be done, I’d certainly like to see it,” he said.
Deputy Mayor George Butt Jr. said the town should look at a way of redirecting the water without going onto the property.
Coun. Ray Noel defended the investigation done by the committee, saying they had been, “very thorough.” Slade did not agree. “Basically, we’re saying the people up there don’t matter,” he exclaimed.
Coun. David Kennedy said Slade was being “unfair.”
A heated exchange erupted, with Kennedy telling Slade he needs to vacate the chair when he wants to discuss something among council.
In the municipal councillor’s handbook issued by the provincial government, in the “special role of mayor” section, it states:
“The mayor has a vote like any other member of council, although he or she should not speak on a
Residents are having a problem on Scarlet Ridge. Water is running from a spring and going onto our road. — Sam Slade
subject unless he or she leaves the chair.”
Slade stated he has an opinion on the matter, and would like it reinvestigated.
“There should be some great consideration given since it’s a big issue for the Town of Carbonear and a problem for those residents.”
Slade told The Compass following the meeting he stands by his words. He believes in order to hold up his election platform, he must stand up for the people.
In an email to The Compass, Kennedy said a copy of the report was emailed to councillors several days before the meeting.
“Sam did not seek info on the issue beforehand and went too far in his comments,” Kennedy wrote.
“He never seemed so condescending about an issue (before). I do not mind him speaking about a topic and do not believe he needs to leave the chair … but putting forth blame is not right, especially from the chair in a public meeting.”
Nugent said O’Grady was around the area Oct. 23 with another town employee, checking out the situation. He also noted there have been many town employees visit the area in the past several years, and nothing has ever been done.
“They said they weren’t going to do anything,” Nugent explained.
He also added the two men told him the whole area wasn’t even town property, and the neighbour owned the road in front of the couple’s driveway.
Jamie would like to see something done immediately, before the roads freeze again.
“I think they should fix it,” he stated.
Aiden Nugent lives on Scarlet Ridge in Carbonear, directly across from a spring discussed in the town council meeting last week. He uses a rake to uncover the amount of water that is running onto his property and wants the town to do something about it.