BEAVER BANK: Residents of Sandy Lake Road in north Beaver Bank are fed up with having to risk their safety to go to work and get their children to school during the winter.
Two of those concerned with the inaction of ensuring their road—the lone one like it in the area—-is looked after and maintained so they can drive safely on it are Frank White and Anna Clarke-Green. When the road thaws after being frozen, it turns into muck.
Clarke-Green has touched base with both HRM councillor Lisa Blackburn and Liberal MLA Bill Horne. Departments with both have pointed the finger at the other as to who looks after the road.
“It’s fear, it’s fear for everybody’s safety,” said Clarke-Green when asked about the road.
White said if the road gets ice on it, you can’t travel it.
“I was here one night we were all stopped at the community mailboxes and the RCMP came,” said White. “The cop got out of his car and it slid on its own down to a residents driveway. There was not anything we could do.”
The other issue for Clarke-Green, who has a child with a life-threatening condition, with the road not passable is if emergency crews were needed, they wouldn’t be able to get in or out.
“Even the last time it froze, my husband came home with our daughter in the car and they slid half a kilometre down the road and almost hit another car on their way down,” she said.
It’s been an ongoing problem for years, that keeps continuing no matter what.
Clarke-Green has had times she had to stay and sleep at her employment, at the hospital, because she knew the condition of the road wouldn’t allow for her to get home to her own bed.
“It prevents me from being home with my family when I should be,” she said.
She said her first call was to 311 who told her Sandy Lake Road was owned and managed by the province.
“I also contacted MLA Horne’s office and his office told me it was owned by HRM, so the province wouldn’t be able to do anything for us,” said Clarke-Green.
Horne’s office did look into her query further, discovering that the road is owned by the province, but HRM does the plowing and maintenance in the winter.
“The road clearing is done by HRM and Dexter’s,” said Horne. “It’s that combination that makes it confusing for the community of who they should be talking too.”
He said a petition could be done up or a public meeting can be held with officials from TIR on hand to discuss the possibility of having the road paved.
Horne said TIR understands it’s a safety issue.
“They don’t have any problems getting it paved, but it will cost,” said Horne. “The normal procedure is 50 per cent that TIR would pay and the residents would pay the rest.”
Councillor Lisa Blackburn understands the frustrations being felt by the residents. But says it’s not up to the municipality on what gets done.
“It’s not HRM who would make the decision about paving, that would be the province,” she said. “When it’s a provincially owned road, the province pays 50 per cent, HRM would pay 50 per cent, and then they would go to the individual homeowners through a local improvement charge to recover those costs.
White and Clarke-Green both say there’s a simple fix to the problem.
“Just pave it,” said White. “I don’t see the big deal, they’ve done all the streets around us.”
“We’re hoping they will fix it,” added Clarke-Green. “We need our road fix. It’s primarily a safety issue.
“We’re completely fed up with it.”