Rough roads, ‘complete disaster’
The Maxville Water Project has not come without growing pains, as some residents of the Fifth of Kenyon will well attest.
Bernie Decoste lives on the Fifth of Kenyon, though his farm is located south on the Fourth of Kenyon. Usually, his commute consists of a quick drive down Auld MacMillan Road, but now that much of that road has been shut down, that route is impassable.
Today, he has to drive down County Road 34 to drive to and from the farm. Although he admits that only adds about five minutes to his commute time, it has grown awfully tiring seeing as how he makes that drive several times a day.
His son, Richard, who also lives on the Fifth of Kenyon, says that Auld MacMillan Road has been closed for at least two months.
“I thought they would have opened that road sooner,” he says. “It’s a complete disaster; a complete mess. We wouldn’t be able to get through there on a tractor.”
The Decostes’ Fifth of Kenyon neighbours, Don and Joanne Routhier, are even more vociferous. The couple says that the Fifth of Kenyon has been rendered near unusable, even going so far as to say that North Glengarry Township should have shut down the nearby construction of the Alexandria-Maxvillle water line until the ground became more firm.
“These guys should have been shut down for the half-load season…until the frost comes out of the ground,” Don Routhier told
The News at his property earlier this month. “The work should have been done later after the rain has gone because it’s messing with the road.”
The township experienced heavy rain in the late spring and the early fall; sections of the Fifth of Kenyon turned into giant mud puddles. “The driving conditions are not good,” says Joanne Routhier. “You never know if you’re going to get stuck. How many times have we hit rock bottom?”
Mrs. Routhier, who says that it got so bad at one point that the mail delivery people didn’t even want to drive that route, says that it’s stressful even leaving the house.
“I don’t know if we’ll get stuck,” she says.
The two have reached out to several North Glengarry councillors and the township’s CAO Sarah Huskinson, but say their concerns have not yet been alleviated.
For her part, Lochiel Ward Councillor Brenda Noble took a drive up that road earlier this month in her new car. “I get the concern,” she said shortly after finishing that drive. “Their concern is that the road won’t go back to the way it was before the project started.”
The matter came up at North Glengarry’s Committee of the Whole meeting on May 22, when Acting Public Works Director Dave Malcolm tabled a report saying that cleanup along the water line has begun and that Malyon – the contractor brought in to do the work and who is supervised by the engineering firm, EVB – is currently attending to Auld McMillan Road and the crossings along County Road 22.
“Once that work is complete, they will begin cleanup of ditches along the route, beginning at Maxville and working eastward, followed by repairs to lawns and driveway entrances.”
Mr. Malcolm’s report did not go unquestioned by council. Kenyon Ward Councillor Jeff Manley noted that a section of Auld McMillan had been closed for two months and that the situation has prompted a number of complaints from area residents. He asked when the road would be re-opened. Mr. Malcolm was unable to give a specific date but promised to look into it.
Maxville Councillor Johanne Wensink also pushed township staff as to when a public meeting would be held to discuss the water project. Ms. Wensink was under the impression that such a meeting would take place in May; the township said staff would try for a meeting in June.
Mr. Malcolm reported that the water project is on schedule and within budget. His report indicates that work on the distribution system, elevated storage tank, and transmission main are all at least 90 per cent complete. He added that EVB is now in the final design phase of the water treatment plant upgrades and that the township should be able to review that design by midJuly.
PROGRESS: Work on the Auld MacMillan Road continues.