Roads and speed bumps lead to contrary opinions among elected officials
Amid the backdrop of an upcoming municipal election, the Carbonear council chamber was alive with tension and debate last week.
Two issues at the Sept. 9 council meeting caused some debate, seeing councillors David Kennedy and Ed Goff oppose Deputy Mayor — and mayoral candidate — Ches Ash on two issues.
Concern about the speed of drivers in the town brought up one heated disagreement.
There have been some concerns with speeding drivers at Carbonear General Hospital’s new crosswalk on Highroad South, which directs walkers to a new parking lot.
The contracting company completing the work suggested to put in a deterrent for drivers to slow down. Council had to choose between two options.
The first was to insert speed bumps like those recently erected on Valley Road in front of Carbonear Academy.
The second was to carve rumble strips — skimming off the top of the pavement to create a rougher surface — as a warning.
Research versus timing
The suggestions led to Ash describing some speed-related concerns that he believed should be addressed — vehicles all over the town exceeding the posted speed limits. The entire council agreed.
Ash then suggested more information should be sought about the legalities of speed bumps before they are considered for the remainder of the town.
“I would like for us to find out what, and if, liabilities are associated with that situation,” Ash said.
“We’ve known about this,” Kennedy contested. “Ed (Goff) brought it up 15 months ago and we’re still looking at it? It’s too long to be looking at stuff.”
A short back and forth took place, with Ash standing by the idea that more information needs to be provided.
“I’m saying we have a responsibility to verify whether or not there is liability.”
Kennedy suggested as long as signage is up, there should be no liability.
Ash also added council should get a response from someone in authority.
“We’ve had enough time to do that from the time this conversation first started,” Kennedy concluded.
Rumble strips were the council’s recommendation for the area by the hospital with the agreement if they don’t work, the contractor will repave the roads. It will be at no cost to the town.
Curbing road issues
The second issue saw Goff disagree strongly with Ash in regards to construction taking place on London Road.
Phase II of the new water, sewer and road replacement project is coming to an end, but there is still some leftover money to continue the project.
It was initially expected to conclude at the top of Valley View Heights, but after confirmation from Municipal Affairs, town administrator Cynthia Davis said the job could continue minus water and sewer, but requested council’s input on how to proceed.
The options included continuing the current job with curb, gutter and pavement, or just laying pavement.
“Some of the road is in poor shape, despicable shape I should say,” Ash said. “Would it be advisable for us to consider just resurfacing the road?”
Goff was opposed to just the resurfacing, noting there are some issues that need to be addressed near the electrical substation on the north side of the street, and curb and gutter would solve them.
“I know the road is in bad shape, but I think we have to look at the infrastructure and do a quality job,” Goff said. “We’re not going to get substantially further, but I think if we’re going to continue we might as well continue with what we’ve got there.”
Ash said he would have liked more detailed information before making a decision.
Council voted to continue with curb and gutter.
Meanwhile, Cougar Contracting — the company completing London Road — is currently laying pavement and is expected to complete the job sometime this fall.
For those who were looking forward to using the new skatepark facilities, the project has been delayed.
The ramps and rails have been ordered, but the shipment has not arrived.
Rob Button, the town's director of tourism and recreation, said he expects it will be sometime in October before the equipment will arrive, more than a month later than initially expected.
Button did have some other equipment news. Bike racks for the recreation facility and basketball nets for Crocker’s Cove playground have arrived. There was no update on when they would be installed as of Sept. 12.
The council has voted in favour of purchasing a portable sampler for sewer water to determine how much waste is currently running through the outfalls into the ocean.
The federal government put in new regulations that will see waste treatment facilities built or upgraded in many towns and cities across the country — some in 2020, others 2030 and the last in 2040.
Public works director Brian O’Grady was speaking with his counterpart in Corner Brook who has recorded success with the portable device, which Carbonear plans to use on one main outflow.
The government will then take the recorded results from quarterly testing to determine the urgency of funding and which municipalities will be considered priority — the higher the sewage concentration the quicker funding will be available.
The device will cost some $12,000.