By Chad Ingram
A group of residents along Redkenn Road is asking that the Municipality of Dysart et al turn a section of the road that was turned to gravel from a hard surface in 2018 back to hardtop.
Keith and Nancy Beard paid a visit to councillors during their Sept. 24 meeting presenting a petition signed by more than 100 residents.
When work was performed along Redkenn Road in 2018 “We watched in utter disbelief that our section was pulverized and left with gravel” Keith told council. Residents had received no communication that this was to occur.
That section of the road is 1.2 kilometres long between Pelaw Bridge and Boice Bradley Road affecting residents of Redstone and Pelaw Lakes. According to a report from residents a five-kilometre section of Redkenn Road providing access to 51 properties was refurbished with asphalt in 2017 while a 1.2-kilometre section providing access to 60 properties was left as gravel in 2018. The report indicates the road had a hard surface for some 30 years.
The group of residents has done substantial research with those findings included in a series of reports.
Their research found that the root of the recommendation for the change was in Dysart et al’s 2014 roads needs study.
“We are the poster child for a gravel road too far” said Keith who listed a number of problematic aspects of gravel roads including dust wear and tear on vehicles and increased gas consumption and noted that a gravel surface is prohibitive for bicycles baby strollers exercise walking and that flying gravel from vehicles especially large ones such as school buses can be dangerous.
While gravel roads may save municipalities money upfront they require more regular maintenance than hard-surface roads and Keith told councillors the research they’d done indicates those financial savings are eroded after five years.
Of the roads needs study itself “It’s only 13 pages it’s got some boilerplate in it” he said. “Maybe we’re rural but we have a lot of urban activity.”
“Our lifestyle has been seriously injured” Keith continued going on to say he believed the roads needs study to be flawed and that the section of the road that been left with a gravel surface did not meet the criteria for such.
“The Redkenn sections never meet any of the criteria for gravel” he told councillors to whom the petition was presented by Nancy.
“We do hear you loud and clear” said Mayor Andrea Roberts. “Obviously there’s going to be no decision made today … All of that becomes a good budget discussion and a philosophy discussion.” Roberts said the municipality was looking at a new roads needs study.
Keith requested that the section be returned to asphalt before the winter arrived.
“I can tell you that will not happen this year” Roberts replied. “We do budgets for the following year. And it’s not just Redkenn. It’s many many other roads that we have to take into consideration.”