WAVERLEY: The local councillor isn’t mincing words over her disappointment towards HRM staff for not informing residents of Waverley of road work that will mean an upwards of 20-minute detour for families for the next five weeks.
HRM said that beginning July 4 and for the next five weeks, Waverley Road near 2342 Waverley Road (close to the Irving) will be closed to all traffic, as Dexter Construction does road work building a retaining wall.
The news was a shock and surprise to residents of Waverley, many in nearby Silversides Subdivision, who have children already registered in summer camps. The roadwork means they will now have to detour 20 minutes to get their kids to the camps in the morning and pickup in the afternoon.
Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon said she to is very disappointed in the news.
“The residents that live on the Waverley road are justifiably upset,” said Deagle Gammon. “There is a lack of communication on behalf of HRM. The timing was terrible.”
She said there will be a debrief on how things came about.
“We will sit-down in a room and figure out why, why did this go so wrong?” said Deagle Gammon. “It feels like it was Murphy’s law. If one domino fell and went wrong, then it was just a cascade of wrongs.”
She said there are four places on the Waverley Road where work needs to be done. Three of them are guard rail repair and they can do one lane, stop, and go traffic there.
However, at 2342 Waverley Road is where they have to build a retaining wall.
“Building the retaining wall, the size of the equipment that’s needed, the people that need to work there, the construction workers that are going to be there. There isn’t enough room, the road is much too narrow,” she said. “They’re telling us that they can’t keep the road open.”
She echoed the frustrations many residents have voiced to her in the well over 150-plus emails and phone messages she’s received.
“It’s five weeks, it’s the summer. Families have made arrangements for summer camps, Becky’s daycare is right there, they take a lot of the youth from the community,” said Deagle Gammon. “This is going to add 20 to 25 minutes in the morning and at the end of the day, for families at a time when you know the price of gas is over two dollars a litre.”
She said the struggle for everyone to understand is why a complete closure.
“Why can’t they start later in the morning? Why can’t they end at the end of the day?” she said. “Dexter has looked at everything. The engineers at have looked at everything and the closure is the only solution.
“As much as I wish, as a councillor for the area, that I could change or make this easier or lessen the impact on the community. I would absolutely do so, but there is nothing in my power there.”
She agreed residents are correct to ask why they didn’t know months ago; why they didn’t know in time to make different arrangements for their kids and workplaces. with residents that there are still questions left unanswered as to why they didn’t know.
“They’re legitimate questions,” she said.
She said a FAQ with some answers to the questions residents may have has been created. It can be found at https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/transportation-projects/waverley-road.
Deagle Gammon was asked about the short notice for residents about the road closure.
“It is that the tender went out and HRM thought they would be able to be one lane open,” said Deagle Gammon. “But when all of the information came back, the information that came back to HRM was no, this needs a closure.
“For all of those reasons the road is so narrow, the size of the equipment, the size of what the product that they’re going to be bringing in to build the retaining wall.”
She said people are trying to think outside the box, they’re trying to be creative, so they’re offering, suggestions and solutions that will lessen a road closure on that part of the community. She said for people to keep sending them in.
“I will forward them, will champion some solutions, as we try to figure out what we can do,” she said.
Deagle Gammon said fire services is aware their responses for given situations will have to change as well to ensure the community remains covered.
How can a similar situation be avoided in the future? That is simple said Deagle Gammon.
“Notice, notice, notice and notice,” she said emphatically. “People need to have sufficient notice in order to make plans, be prepared and they also need to have the proper information so that they can understand.
“People need sufficient notice and sufficient notice could be months right. People need the right information, they need consistent information, and they also need to be consulted, like when this was going to happen.”
She said one option should have been a public meeting to make everybody in the affected area aware it was going to be a complete closure.
Deagle Gammon offered a sincere apology to the people of Waverley, even though everything is out of her control.
“This was not in any way a good piece of work,” she said.