By Darren Lum
Harmony Road resident Mark Dennys of Haliburton presented a letter and petition with neighbours’ signatures asking to increase and move up the timeline of sweeping to clear the sand left after the winter. He cited safety concerns for residents and from walkers, cyclists and runners, who use the road to access the trail, which links to Pine Street.
Dennys shared what he knew of the sweeping operations to the Municipality of Dysart et al council at the regular council meeting on June 28.
“I know I’ve been told and many other people have been told (and maybe Nancy [Wood-Roberts,Ward 1 councillor] may recall better … generally they start out at the Pinestone and work their way back to the roads department and work their way back through town and all the streets, which I don’t know is a fact, but that’s what we’ve been told,” Dennys said.
He said this is a neighbourhood concern and said the sand clearing this year was performed on June 20 and 21. The timing frustrated him because Industrial Park Road, which is not residential, was cleared close to mid-May. He noted how a girl slipped on the sand and had scraped her knee.
“Having said all that, we’re making a proposal to council that maybe there needs to be a [inaudible] readjusting [of] the time. When they start maybe that can be adjusted if need be. With the growth of the municipality especially the last two years … new construction, more tax dollars generated – I know they’re not cheap – but, maybe, a second sweeper to grow with the community to get these things done before June and July when kids want to be out after a long winter to play on the street, play hockey, Rollerblade. You know, do all the things that we did as kids that we did on the street in a safe manner. It’s hard to do so when you have a beach out on the road with the sand,” he said.
He added, if it’s not in the budget to purchase, would council consider renting the necessary equipment during the spring.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said sweeping and the timelines for completion was discussed at the past committee of the whole meeting, which included acknowledgement of the late-spring start and the “difficult year” with how the amount of sand was required this winter.
“It’s certainly been on the radar of this council and I can attest (while you have submitted this in your neighbourhood this delegation and the petition) it certainly is not the only area that we have heard from that are residential neighbourhoods. So, I think our staff will be looking into sweeping in general and they can only start when the weather cooperates, but perhaps having a different level of service for different priority areas, whether they be residential … [or] you mentioned Industrial Park. Council doesn’t get into the weeds, let’s say of operations, but what we do do is set policies in place and that’s something we can be looking at,” she said.
Roberts said they would consider looking at renting or purchasing another piece of equipment, but it comes down to “time and money.”
Ward 4 Councillor John Smith, who ideally wants sweeping to be done before Victoria Day weekend, asked if staff could consider presenting options for sweeping during budget process considerations.
Roberts noted how there are two pieces of sweeping equipment. One sweeps the sand off the road and the other performs a vacuuming of the sand.
Ward 5 Councillor Walt McKechnie didn’t see how sweeping could be completed by the Victoria Day weekend, noting the rain events in June this year. He credited the staff with their efforts, but believes an additional sweeper is needed to help speed up the entire process.
Dennys asked about consideration to alternate every year so the sweeping starts at the roads department instead of the Pinestone.
Roberts said without a committee of the whole meeting staff won’t be reporting on this until August.