Mark­land res­i­dents protest road con­di­tions

The Compass - - Editorial - BY CHRIS LEWIS editor@cb­n­com­

Deep pot­holes and ru­ined pave­ment are things res­i­dents of Mark­land say they’ve had enough of.

In or­der to have their voices heard, res­i­dents of Mark­land and sur­round­ing ar­eas gath­ered along the side of the main road with signs, rais­ing con­cerns about the con­di­tion of roads in the area.

About 30 peo­ple were present at the re­cent protest, which many res­i­dents felt was nec­es­sary to get the mes­sage across.

Hav­ing not been prop­erly paved since 1987, the road lead­ing into Mark­land has seen bet­ter days.

Wayne Harris is a res­i­dent of Mark­land, hav­ing grown up in the area. His home is near the end of Hur­ley’s Road, and he says that the state of the roads is like noth­ing he’s seen in the com­mu­nity be­fore.

“It’s ridicu­lous, and what’s it go­ing to take for it to get fixed?” said Harris. “Peo­ple are beat­ing up their ve­hi­cles, be­ing forced to drive on the left side of the road, and spend­ing crazy amounts of money at the garage just to drive back and forth to work ev­ery day.”

Pro­tes­tors gath­ered at the be­gin­ning of Mark­land, but the bad road con­di­tions start ear­lier along the road leav­ing Whit­bourne, lead­ing into Mark­land.

Tonya Somer­ton was a res­i­dent of Mark­land up un­til Au­gust of 2016, when she and her fam­ily moved to Clarke’s Beach. Somer­ton is still heav­ily in­volved in the com­mu­nity, and her fam­ily still owns their home in Mark­land. Somer­ton felt at­tend­ing the protest would be a good way to help the peo­ple who make the same daily com­mute she made less than a year ago.

“Our goal with this protest is to re­ally get the point across that these roads need to be fixed. Per­ma­nently. There are huge holes that have been filled with coal patches,” said Somer­ton, as she pointed to sev­eral spots where the black of a coal patch stuck out among the grey of the road. “How long will coal patches last? Not long enough, clearly, be­cause ev­ery day these roads are get­ting worse and worse, and we need a long-term fix, rather than just a few coal patches here and there.”

Doug Somer­ton, Tonya’s hus­band, also noted that while liv­ing in the area, a quick drive to drop their daugh­ter off at work be­came an hour long haul of avoid­ing pot­holes and bumps.

“New wheel bear­ings, dented rims, beat up fend­ers, bro­ken con­trol rods, the list goes on. The peo­ple in this com­mu­nity are all too fa­mil­iar with all those things, and go­ing to the garage to get them fixed ev­ery other week is ex­pen­sive,” added Doug.

Doug went on to say while liv­ing in Mark­land, he had to fix the bear­ings on his ve­hi­cle an es­ti­mated 10 to 12 times over the course of a year.

Wheel bear­ing re­place­ments cost an av­er­age of $100. Adding labour costs to the mix, some­one with a bro­ken wheel bear­ing is look­ing at around $300 to $400 per bear­ing.

Paul Walker is an­other res­i­dent of Mark­land who at­tended the protest. He re­cently hit a pot­hole along the main road in Mark­land, and was left with a bent rim on his ve­hi­cle, as well as a miss­ing hub­cap.

“I’ve got to go get a new rim, and a new hub­cap,” ex­plained Walker. “That gets ex­pen­sive. Some peo­ple might say it’s only one lit­tle thing, but what about ev­ery­one else here to­day that had the same thing hap­pen? Can ev­ery­one af­ford dam­aged ve­hi­cles ev­ery week? Sure, I could have got out of my car and chased down the hub­cap, but I wouldn’t be sur­prised to find it lost in­side an­other pot­hole,” added Walker.

The protest saw sev­eral ve­hi­cles drive through, in­clud­ing a school bus and a lo­cal am­bu­lance, that has also had its fair share of prob­lems with road con­di­tions.

Smith’s Am­bu­lance Ser­vices re­cently recorded a video of a drive through Mark­land to show­case how slow they need to drive to avoid run­ning the risk of hav­ing an ac­ci­dent on their way to a scene.

“That’s one of our main con­cerns. The am­bu­lance in the area needs to have a safe way to get back and forth from peo­ple’s houses,” ex­plained Tonya. “Some­day, we’re afraid that’s go­ing to cost some­one their life.”


Tonya Somer­ton stands in front of an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle dur­ing the re­cent protest.


Tonya and Doug Somer­ton talk with po­lice who drove through the protest in Mark­land.


Paul Walker, a res­i­dent of Mark­land, re­cently dented his rim while driv­ing through the com­mu­nity.

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