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Anger Builds As Some Residents Still Waiting For Roads To Be Plowed Following Christmas Storm

KAWARTHA LAKES-Larry Radzio has been stuck at home near Sebright for five days. He says Day Drive had not been plowed once since the 23rd of December and was completely impassable leaving residents stranded and vulnerable in case of emergency.

“It definitely makes us upset, we’ve been talking down here and we need coverage if there’s anything more serious happening people aren’t going to get in, you can’t get ambulances in,” Radzio told Kawartha 411 News.  “I haven’t heard of anyone here yet with that kind of emergency but definitely there’s a couple in the Sebright area with a sick baby and one lady in our area, her husband is in ICU and she hasn’t been able to see him in for five or six days.”

Radzio isn’t alone. A number of people have taken to social media wondering where all the plows are.

On Wednesday Troy Parker said “Has anyone heard anything about plows today? Day Drive still hasn’t been touched.”

“Can someone please plow the lane at Head River lane. We are snowed in and I have a sick 13-month-old baby and I need to go to Toronto just in case I need the hospital,” said Allen Lepine. “I was here to visit my parents for Christmas now we are stuck, please someone come help us please,” he begged.

“Well we still can’t get out,” said Margaret Thompson on Facebook this morning. “They haven’t plowed Watt Lane yet. I wonder what the excuse is today.”

Brian Arthur Broughm said “Remember the old days when we used to hear the plows working through the night so people could actually get to work in the morning? Could it possibly be the people in charge haven’t a clue how to organize shift work.”

Councillor Ron Ashmore says he has received a number of calls from upset residents and has been trying to get answers from City staff but to no avail.

“There’s no communication, we aren’t told anything, we aren’t kept in the loop,” Ashmore told Kawartha 411 News.  “I would like to get some answers. I pleaded for help, I sent an email to senior staff and they didn’t respond. They won’t tell me how many staff we have, or where the trucks are, it’s a big secret.”

There are still roads in the Sebright area that have not been plowed. Ashmore says Post Road, Lilac Road, Heights Road and Ash Road were still impassable as of Tuesday. The City issued a “Significant Weather Event” on December 24th meaning it does not have to adhere to timelines for clearing the roads. That has been extended until December 30th.

“People are stranded, they cannot get out. They’ve extended this “Significant Weather Event” and it shields them from being sued. They’ve thrown up their hands saying we can’t do this so we are going to issue one of these declarations and that’s going to cover us so we don’t get sued, that’s what it’s all about, explained Ashmore. “We need to do better. What if you had a fire or an ambulance needed, some people need medication they haven’t been able to get for days because they can’t get out.”

On Lilac Road near Bobcaygeon, the Martin Dairy Farm had milk that needed to be picked up. The family told Kawartha 411 News that their son Willard plowed a path using his own equipment on December 25th so the milk wouldn’t go to waste.

 

Lilac Road after being cleared by the Martins.

Residents on Day Road also tried to clear the road themselves as did farmers on Windemere Road.

 

Photo Virginia Jackson Facebook

On Northline Road a plow was stuck and left for days.

Northline Road on Tuesday Courtesy Lee Hepburn McInnis

Settlement Road between Pigeon Lake Road and King’s Wharf Road had a snow drift covering the road days after the storm.

Settlement Road on Monday courtesy Daniel A Block.

The same with Hartley Road past Palestine Road according to posts on Facebook.

Ashmore says the City has plenty of plows but they don’t have a front-end loader or a grater for moving the snow that was not plowed for days on the roads.

“People have legitimate concerns. This is what happens when you don’t plow for days. We should be able to get this job done. We have a responsibility to clear these roads.” he explained.

And he says with the Significant Weather Event extended until Friday at 5pm which means people will wait until Monday before their roads are cleared.

“Now they extended it to Friday, well everybody knocks off for the weekend at 5pm so they aren’t going to do it until Monday people will be stranded until Monday.”

This City says the reason a declaration of significant weather event was made on December 24, and extended until December 30 was due to the volume of snow and the high winds that led to sustained drifting of snow across roads.

“Roads that were treated were appearing to be untreated in a matter of hours. We knew that even with all resources deployed, we would not be able to meet the standard level of service on the roads.” Bryan Robinson, Director of Public Works. “The declaration, and the conditions of some roads today – being closed or snow-covered – is not related to staffing or equipment availability. It is the sheer volume of snow that is covering certain roads, in some cases, several feet of snow.”

Robinson continues saying “I cannot stress enough that clearing this volume of snow and drifts from blowing wind has been extremely resource and time intensive. In some areas, it is taking an hour to clear one kilometer of road. We are staffed to the optimum level and contracted services have been utilized daily. The City took every action to prepare for this storm, and continue to take every action available, to clear to the roads as quickly and safely as possible.”

Robinson says all 5,400 lane kilometres of roads, and sidewalks, throughout the municipality have been treated since the storm onset and the City continues to operate under full callout as of December 28.

This story has been updated with comments from the City.

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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