Queen Charlotte preparing for taking over road

  • Apr. 28, 2008 7:00 p.m.

by Heather Ramsay–Drainage problems are on residents’ minds as the Village of Queen Charlotte gets set to take over maintenance of its roads. Queen Charlotte has 8.6 km of roads, which will become the town’s responsibility in 2010. Until then, the province is paying to maintain them, but from 2010 on (five years after incorporation), all but the highway-also known as Oceanview Drive-will be the village’s responsibility. The village is counting on spending an extra $78,000 a year on the road maintenance within two years, although those numbers are subject to change. This year’s budget sets aside $50,000 for future road costs and next year the village will try to sock away funds as well. Village administrator Andrew Yeates says a list of work that needs to be done has been given to the Ministry of Transportation and is always being updated. Some of the biggest expenses are being looked after now, he said, including repairing some long-standing drainage issues at Charlie Hartie Creek and on Bay Street as well as putting up road signs. But one villager feels some issues may be being missed. Tom Kile and his wife Helen live on 3rd Ave. between 9th and 10th Streets. Over the past couple of years he’s spent at least $10,000 dealing with drainage problems around his house. The house is in a dip, with the property sloping upwards on three sides. In the front, a roadside ditch drains the roadway toward his driveway, and with no ditch, let alone a culvert to drain the water farther away, during heavy rains pools of water have formed under his house. He’s dealt with much of this himself with pipes and retaining walls in the front, but the back is where he still has trouble. Water running off a brushy slope in the back used to pool up under and around his house. He’s used a pick and a shovel on the problem, but because the slope out back of his house drains from an area gazetted as a lane, he feels the village or the province should bear some responsibility. He says the back of his house is a pile of fill that old timers remember being dumped there by highways workers. His neighbours on both sides are both impacted by the drainage with water lapping up against their siding after heavy rains He thinks Highways should dig a ditch behind the row of houses out to 9th St. He’s sent a picture over to the village office showing his troubles, but hasn’t had any response. Randy Penner at the Ministry of Transportation says there are about 10 spots in town that his staff know about and intend to work on.”We made a commitment to the village that we would repair drainage concerns before the turnover,” Mr. Penner said. He mentioned work already done on Bay St. and Isabel Creek where Highways intends to do some excavation. Other possible plans include paving on Martynuik Rd and sections of 2nd Ave, cul de sac drainage on 3rd Ave. at Forestry Hill, curbing on several sections of Oceanview Drive and more. He said typically his department wouldn’t do any maintenance on an undeveloped lane and this type of work is not in the current maintenance contract with O’Brien Road and Bridge. But if he had a request, they’d look at it on a case-by-case basis. Mr. Penner says his department also has to work within its budget and some work would be dependent on funding. Other residents have expressed concerns about the extra money the town will have to spend to look after the maintenance work like plowing and sanding the streets. Mr. Yeates said at the moment the village has no plans to buy road maintenance equipment, but doing so hasn’t been ruled out. He says the real cost of keeping a similar contract with O’Brien’s or doing work by village staff has not been worked out either. O’Brien’s has offered to train village staff to maintain the roads this winter and the company will contribute some of its contract funds to the village for undertaking the work. This will help the village assess whether their staff will be able to look after the roads by 2010 in-house or whether contracting out is the best way to go.