ARICHAT: Richmond Municipal Council is sending a letter to the transportation minister about the condition of road shoulders around the municipality.

District 3 Councillor Melanie Sampson told the regular monthly meeting on June 28 that she has spoken with many of her constituents about the poor condition of overgrown roadsides in her area, as well as other councillors, and the Department of Transportation and Active Transit.

“We do recognize that (DTAT) is very much limited by the budget that they have and they’re also limited by the equipment that they have to use in order to clean the sides of those roads,” she told council. “There’s one machine to do the sides of the roads for four counties, and quite frankly, that’s unacceptable. It is not just unsightly, it is very dangerous.”

Sampson said this problem could prove dangerous when school buses return to the roads in September, and for pedestrians.

“September will be here before we know it,” she noted. “I’m concerned about people walking on the sides of the roads for fitness, or for transportation.

Although some clearing took place in the Loch Lomond area last winter, District 5 Councillor Brent Sampson said he’s been hearing the same complaints in his district.

“It has nothing to do with the local operators not being able to get it done, it’s just not being provided,” he told council.

District 1 Councillor Shawn Samson said there are eroded road shoulders in his district.

“It pertains to a lot of shoulders of the road where the dirt is giving-way,” he noted. “People are walking the sides of the roads, there’s holes there, people with kids in carriages, strollers, it’s a very, very dangerous situation in my area. Down in Alderney Point, that’s just a bad accident waiting to happen, in a turn where there’s holes everywhere.”

Because of the lack of clearing from the DTAT, he said some residents are mowing road shoulders on their own, which creates a hazard.

“We have some good residents in our county (who) taken it upon themselves, when they’re mowing their own lawns, to go up and down the sides of the roads and mowing the sides of the roads voluntarily, but it’s a very dangerous situation when it comes to motorcycle drivers,” he stated. “There’s grass right on the pavement, and when it comes to a motorcycle driver, grass on the pavement, you might as well be driving on ice.”

Although he was unable to vote on the motion due to a conflict, Deputy Warden Michael Diggdon suggested council also send the letter to Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon.

“We reached out to her already and I believe we have to send another message to her that she’s the one who has to push for it, because obviously, the money does come from the province,” Diggdon said.

Recalling her recent meeting during which this issue was discussed, Warden Amanda Mombourquette recommended council also send the letter to Premier Iain Rankin, “with regards to erosion, mowing and brush-cutting, and the dangerous conditions this presents in our county.”

The district 3 representative added that a letter and motion can be effective, and council approved both.

“The level of service, regarding the shoulders of the road – particularly the bush-cutting, or brush cutting and roadside mowing – is just not acceptable, and that we would hope that they would consider seriously, at their budget, to see what they can do, in that regard,” Sampson said of the letter. “I think that rather than doing it by consensus, I’d to see it done through motion of council, to really show the importance that this to us, as a council, particularly due to the safety concerns. Safety is the biggest issue here.”