PORT HOOD: The provincial government has denied a request from the municipality for assistance clearing trees and branches from roads.
During the regular monthly meeting of Inverness Municipal Council on Sept. 2, correspondence was received from the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office.
“I think they just photocopied their last (letter) to us about funding for the trees and branches. We pretty well got the same answer we got the first time. This was been our second letter to the department,” Warden Laurie Cranton said. “They’re saying there’s no funding to help with. I don’t know what else we can do. We can talk with our new government; they’re not going to be in position to jump on something like that this quick, but maybe it’s worth it.”
Deputy Warden Bonny MacIsaac took issue with the lack of clearing of large tree branches on well-travelled roads.
“Somebody is going to get injured,” she told council. “We had a Pepsi truck, two weeks ago, take down branches after it delivered to the hospital… I mean 200 pound branches.”
District 5 Councillor Lynn Chisholm said the provincial government needs to better prepare for extreme weather and assume full responsibility for debris on roads and highways.
“Our weather has changed. I think the province should know that too that there should be money going forward for these types of disasters because there’s going to be a lot more,” she stated. “That’s what’s frustrating as councillors because we’re bounced around but yet the problem is still there. You can drive down the road and see them, and they’re constantly coming our way, but we have nowhere to put them. It’s like an abandoned issue, nobody wants that responsibility. The province is going to have to recognize that, sooner or later.”
Warden Laurie Cranton said current infrastructure was not constructed to deal with the current climate.
“If you don’t have drainage systems and your culverts up to snuff, we’re going to continually have road wash-outs and such things. A lot of them occur because of major water and flooding, but they also occur because the infrastructure in the ground was never designed to hold that,” he said. “Those trees that the buses and Pepsi trucks are hitting, in all the districts, those are part of the highway infrastructure. They’re within that 30-foot limit from the centre of the road.”
MacIsaac said she told new Premier Tim Houston how disappointed she was in the previous government’s response to this problem, and she said Houston promised his government would address the problem.
Now that the new government has made some changes to departments and deputy ministers, Chief Administrative Officer Keith MacDonald suggesting sending a third letter, this time to the new Department of Public Works. Council agreed but decided to also include previous correspondence.
“We send, to our new government, copies of the correspondence that we submitted and the responses that we received,” Cranton added. “And ask that the new government take another look at this.”