Redkenn Road cottagers confronted Dysart et al council Sept. 24 with a petition to request their roadway be hard-surfaced after the municipality pulverized it to gravel in 2018.
A delegation presented to council representing 60 owners along a 1.2 kilometre stretch of road along Redstone Lake, from the Pelaw River Bridge to the edge of Boice Bradley Drive. Residents expressed outrage that the municipality made their road gravel, when it was hard-surfaced for 30 years.
Keith Beard told council this had a significant negative impact on the quality of life for the people there. He argued the gravelling was not justified.
“Our lifestyle has been taken away from us,” Beard said. “The pain is real and we want our hard surface.”
The association brought a 32-page report noting that the neighbouring section of road, approximately five kilometres long with 51 properties, was paved in 2017. That’s created division, Beard said.
“Divided our road into have or have not,” Beard said. “A real sense of going backwards.” Council made no decisions regarding the issue.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said it would be brought up in the 2020 budget process.
“This was a decision made some time ago,” Roberts said. “That comes to a budget discussion and philosophy discussion. I know you’re here to represent Redkenn but we have to consider the whole municipality.”
Director of public works Rob Camelon told The Highlander the road stretch had long outlived its service life and was not identified in the municipality’s six-year capital plan. The decision to remove it was primarily due to resources, he said.
“Consistently sending two people to patch, in some areas ‘rebuild’ the surface, on Redkenn was not felt to be a good use of labour or resources,” Camelon said. “Reverting roads back to gravel is not a new idea for our department.”
The delegation’s report acknowledges gravel roads are often used in low-traffic rural areas to save costs.
But Beard argued the road’s use justifies paving and maintenance costs for gravel add up.
“Gravel roads are not for snow plow routes, school bus routes or where there is a possibility for emergency routes and wouldn’t you know it, we have all three,” Beard said.
The issues associated with gravel roads versus paved ones, such as wear on vehicles, dust and pedestrian experience have harmed residents, Beard said.
He added there should be emergency funds allotted to address the situation before winter.
“That will not happen this year. Tenders are set,” Roberts replied. “It’s many, many, many other roads we have to take into consideration.”
The delegation also presented a petition with over 100 signatures.
“We stand here shoulder to shoulder with 100 of us,” Beard said. “We want our road back.”