Markland residents protest road conditions
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.