Petition launched to redo Wonderland Road


After months of dealing with dust clouds and loose gravel that has damaged property at their Wonderland Road home, Haliburton residents John and Sharon Sinclair have reached the end of their tether.

The couple appeared before Dysart council May 28, armed with a petition signed by 45 neighbours, calling on the township to revisit roadworks completed in the area last fall.

“The road is a mess, it’s deteriorating as we speak – there’s still lots of potholes, loose gravel,” Mr. Sinclair said. “I took three wheelbarrows full of gravel out of my ditch a few weeks ago [that had been dumped there] by snowplows over the winter – that’s municipal land, but we try to keep it looking nice.

“When workers brushed the road recently to take the sand off, they also took a lot of gravel and filled the ditch again. That’s not very fair,” he added.

Sinclair said he contacted Dysart’s roads department earlier this year to ask what could be done. He noted vehicles travelling down Wonderland Road will usually send gravel flying 15 feet up his driveway.

“Many people on this road own fine automobiles that are now subject to possible stone chips to the car’s paint and windshields,” he said.

Sinclair added many of his neighbours have stopped walking their dog along the road due to the loose gravel.

In the petition, Sinclair is calling for Dysart to redo the road surface using materials that will create a smooth and dust-free surface; lay down an environmentally-safe dust inhibitor to eliminate health hazards and property damage until work can be completed; and remove a pile of surplus gravel and garbage that has been left near the entrance to Autumn Lane.

Township responds

Public works director, Rob Camelon, said staff have been working on a solution. While there have been calls for Dysart to repave the road, Camelon said it has never been paved.

“Wonderland Road was originally resurfaced in 2015 using a class two double surface treatment – the same aggregate that is in place today. It… takes on the look of a hard surfaced road as traffic travels over it,” Camelon said, adding the road was treated with a slurry seal topping in 2018, which smoothed the surface. He noted the township hasn’t used slurry seal on its roads for six years.

“It’s very weather-dependent and we found on more than one occasion our work was not completed in time before the weather window closed [in] mid-to-late fall,” he said.

Camelon said he does expect the situation to improve.

“It’s common for stone to become loose after resurfacing – it happens to all the roads we resurface every year. It’s simply a part of the process,” Camelon said. “The road has been swept in response to the loose stone, which is also a routine operation for our department.”

Councillors Barry Boice, Pat Casey, and Nancy Wood-Roberts say they have all driven the road recently and admitted it could use some work. Boice said the issue is like one experienced on Haliburton Lake last year.

“The dust would choke you; it was terrible. It’s relieved itself now, but the first summer was really bad,” Boice said.

Deputy mayor Walt McKechnie asked if a slurry seal could be installed now to rectify the issue – Camelon said it could, and the township could re-evaluate the type of aggregate it’s using to resurface roads, but that costs would go up between 40 and 50 per cent. He said that would severely limit the number of roads staff could fix year to year.

He added that, if council were to direct staff to push through a quick fix for Wonderland Road there would likely be similar requests from other residents.

“My concern is we are setting the bar [if] we go back and resurface this one particular road, because you are going to have concerns [from people] on Curry Drive [which we just resurfaced] as well,” Camelon said.

McKechnie said it was important that council “get ahead of this situation,” indicating he’d like to see the work done. Casey said if the class two aggregate is causing more problems than it’s solving, council may need to make a change – even if it means cutting back on the number of roads it fixes each year.

Camelon will return to a future meeting with some recommendations.