What do you do as a concerned citizen when both the democracy that is allegedly provided by your provincial government and even common sense itself as provided by the same government fails? The matter in question is the deplorable condition of Bower’s Road in Lower Ohio, Shelburne County.
The depth and nature of the rock lined of the potholes on this road has cost one business owner three trailer tires and one truck tire due to broken sidewalls. It is hard to run a business if you cannot safely move equipment around. Other traffic on the road has destroyed over 1000 square feet of lawn as motorists drive through people’s yards in order to avoid the potholes.
The road itself has deteriorated to the point whereby at 206 locations the tops of large boulders can be seen projected into the roadbed itself as all of the gravel has been washed and snowplowed away. The scrape marks from previous year’s attempts at grading are readily visible on the top of these rocks. The road needs to be gravelled and then graded.
Now this is where the system totally fails. With the exception of the local municipal councillor (who ran into the same problems as all of the rest of us residents of the road did) attempts to contact in a meaningful way any elected provincial government official or employee of the highways department (or whatever it is called these days – they keep changing the name – and I would too if I were them), simply failed. Calls were not returned, e mails were ignored, letters went unanswered and when someone got to talk to a real live person they stated they were unable to do anything but they would put us on the list – whatever that meant?
It gets even worse. When an offer was made to repair the road ourselves at our own expense, using materials identical to what they would have used we were told that was not possible because we had to have a permit issued by them for which there was a significant fee, proof of liability, payment of a flagging crew (the residents to pay for same) and the list went on and on. So simply put – the answer was no.
Since we in Shelburne County were disenfranchised before the last provincial election (numerous attempts to contact our multi – county MLA have gone unresponded to (even when his office is open – which is not often – the unusual phone number does not help much either) – so what do we do?
Well our own government are making criminals out of us. “Midnight Road Repair, Inc.” so far has put several hundred dollars of Type 1 highway gravel on Bower’s Road to try and alleviate the worst of the damage to vehicles and property. The spectacle of old men and old women using wheel barrows to repair the dirt road takes us back to images of rural Russia but that is what it has become – and - perhaps that is what our left leaning socialistic government wants it to be – as it seems to be applying the same tactics to everything from highways to health care.
So help in the protest – bring a rake and a bucket of gravel. Fill in a pothole. Make a statement one pothole at a time. The incredible irony in all of this is that the local department of highways just purchased a brand new grader for this area. Too bad the half a million dollar machine could not be managed in a manner that made some sense.
So what next – civil unrest? It seems that just about everyone else can break the law with impunity these days in order to make an impression on the government. In one last bit of irony on two previous occasions in Ohio it took housewives with babes in arms standing in the middle of the road with placards and brooms in order to get the attention of officialdom. Once to get the Ohio Road paved and once to get the Welshtown Road paved – both accomplished. We do not want pavement on Bower’s Road, but we would like a little gravel and a grading. Maybe it is time for placards and brooms again?