Friday, January 30, 2009

Haldimand "What has Happened to our Roads?"

Before I begin my rant about the quality of service that we are getting in regards to winter maintenance, I want to say Kudo’s to the Haldimand County Roads Crew! You do a remarkable job and work very hard, Thank-You!

This winter has certainly been an extreme one with more snow than I can remember in the last several years. When we moved here from Hamilton in 1999, I couldn’t say enough good things about how great our roads are looked after in the wintertime. A few people had their doubts about us moving into the rural area especially for hubby going back and forth to work. Up until this year, outside of a major winter storm or a freezing rainstorm, hubby has never missed a day of work in the winter. I can’t say that about this year, it has been quite the opposite!

We have been snowed in here on Lakeshore Rd. many times this winter, not all because of snowstorms, more often it has been the blowing snow off of the fields and the Lake.

I have called the Mayor on several occasions this year with complaints about our road not being plowed and being snowed in when there has been no actual snowstorm. The Mayors answer to this is that people should just stay home from work when the roads are bad. I have a problem with that remark, maybe she is in no fear of losing her job, but there are many out there that cannot afford to just take a day off work every time our road is impassible in times when there has been no actual storm!

Another point that I brought to her attention was the fact that when we can’t get out, no one can get in either! So thank god there has been no 911 emergencies when we were snowed in!

I found out recently that council had approved the "minimum" level of service for winter control maintenance in Haldimand County.

Our service is based on road class and the ability to fund and deliver winter control as per the standards defined in the Municipal Act under what is known as the "Minimum Maintenance Standards". So our service is at the bare minimum required by law! Well I don’t know about you but when I found this out I was furious!

For the taxes that we pay along Lakeshore Rd. the current service level is "unacceptable" in my opinion. I am sure that for anyone that is rural you will feel the same way. As far as I am concerned it is not too much to ask that our service level be bumped up to meet with the "extreme conditions" of this winter. Yes this will cost more money, but isn’t this what our taxes pay for?

I am sure that some on council will tell you that we are very tight for money…..or it is because of the hard economic times that we are facing… not accept that as an excuse! If in fact we are hurting that bad for money, it is time to seriously look at where our tax dollars are going!

As far as I am concerned winter maintenance is an "essential" service. It is not too much to ask as a taxpayer that our roads are safe and "passable"!

So what can we do, well call your local council member and ask why we are still at a "minimum" service level. If your councillor will not return your call, call another councillor. Call the roads department and put in a complaint, but be kind to them they are not at fault here, they do the best they can with what they have to work with!

One thing I know for sure is that if we do nothing, we will get "nothing" in return!


  1. Elizabeth HutchisonJanuary 30, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    Donna, a great rant. I share your concerns and then some. I live in Caledonia. I walk to work. Yes, I walk. Heels instead of wheels. Let me tell you, there have been so many days this winter when I have taken my life in my hands when I tried to get to work. We have 4 seasons in this country. Budget for them. I to have written Marie about this and there was one day when the mini-plows did clear a path. But I can't rely on safe passage to work. Bylaws concerning property owners clearing their walks is unenforceable. They have 24 hours to clear the walk. I still have to get to work during those 24 hours. Then in a perfect world, the bylaw officer comes along the next day and sees that home owner X hasn't cleared their walk. I'm still trying to get to work and it's day 2. On day 3 the notice is turned into Cayuga. I'm still trying to get to work and it's now day 3. Well, here's the clinker. If the property owner doesn't clear the walk, sometime, before spring, the county will clear the walk and bill the homeowner. Foolishness. The bylaw is ridiculous placing the onus on the property owner in the first place. If my sidewalk is cracked and lifting, the county repairs it. It is their responsibility to do so. Why does the burden of upkeep change with the seasons? If the property owner is responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalk then should they not be responsible for the road in front of their property. Should we not all be out there with shovels and salt, making sure our little stretch of highway is clean? Of course not. If we can't afford to keep our roads and sidewalks clean, with the taxes we pay, then someone isn't watching the spending. First, I don't need the road swept and washed during the spring and summer. Cut that expense out. There is no new growth in this county, so let's fire all the building inspectors. We know from the illegal smoke shacks that bylaws are discretionary and cannot be enforced. Fire all the bylaw officers. I'm sure you and I and your readers can come up with other unnecessary expenses. Like you, Donna, I'm mad as hell over the conditions in Haldimand County. Elizabeth Hutchison

  2. I am with you on this Donna. I will be making a call to my councillor, but I doubt he will call me back. So I will call another one as you suggested.

    We all pay enough taxes and need to demand the services that are a necessity!

    Rob in Cayuga

  3. My mother is a dialysis patient and I drive her from Dunnville to Stoney Creek three times a week. I don't know how many times we have been late for her 9:00 a.m. hookup due to bad road conditions. Mayor Trainer can comment that people should stay home from work but what about people that travel to the city for life support. Roads were kept better years ago before the County was formed. This County seems to be a failing institution in every department. I pray every day on my way to Stoney Creek I make it through Haldimand County roads to where the Niagara Roads and the Hamilton main roads show that they care about their taxpayers driving to work each day. Use our money in Haldimand where it is really needed.


  5. "The Mayors answer to this is that people should just stay home from work when the roads are bad."

    This statment by Mayor Trainer shows how out of touch with reality she really is. As usual, it will probably take some sort of lawsuit to change this administration's sheer disregard for the taxpayers in the County. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the successful harassment law suit launched against the Mayor a few years ago, even legal action will not change the ways of this administration.

    Name one other mayor in all of Canada that takes Friday's off to babysit the grandkids. It's no wonder that neither the Fedeal government nor the Province have any respect whatsoever for Haldimand County Council. In times of crisis, we need our leaders to take control and deliver what is best for the people that elected them. Has this ever happened in the last three years?

    Mayor Trainer has a very solid support base. She gets the same 10,000 voters marking an x beside her name in every election she has participated in. And the sad reality of that is she's probably going to win again in 2010, unless some bright, articulate and results driven person steps up to run against her. Even with that, the chances of exactly what happened in the last election will happen again. The majority of voters cast a ballot against Mayor Trainer, however there were two other people running that split the vote, allowing her to come up the middle and win. The other problem is who is bright, articulate and results driven enough that they would want to go in and clean up the mess Trainer has left behind?

  6. We have come to expect nothing better than minimum service across the board. Our complaints are never addressed so what would be the point in putting up a fuss about the roads. Maybe we should stay at home when the roads are bad and start sending a bill to the county everytime we loose a day off of work. Or better yet we can have this deducted from our hefty tax bills!

  7. Haldimand officials and politicians have been so busy posturing themselves (wasting time and resources) in the native stuff that they forget about what their actual jobs are.

    This is the predictable result of unqualified people holding office.

    Haldimand is a joke.

  8. I'm reminded of an old saying that a corporation (we can insert Haldimand County) is like a tree full of monkeys. The monkeys at the top look down and see the smiling faces looking up at them. The monkeys at the bottom look up but all they see are a bunch of a**holes.

  9. What is needed is a consultants report followed by a staff report to advise our useless council members what to do, I am sure that they can get a good consultant for around $25,000.00! Without a consultant and staff followup nothing will be done!

  10. People have given up on any hope of things getting better in this county. We keep electing the same people. The last election we had many good people to choose from, yet the majority forget the lies, meetings behind closed doors, money being spent on consultants and then nothing is done, what a waste of tax dollars. Most on council depend on the majority of people that don't care, don't vote, and don't get involved. Donna you are one of the few out there that still believe that we can change things, I just wish more people would get involved, thanks.

  11. Want change?

    Change the Mayor and Councilors. Between the obvious dislike that they have for each other and the 'boys club' mentality that presently exists, the only thing that is being served are a bunch of over-inflated egos.

    Out with the lot of them. Fresh ideas and new energy is needed in Haldimand County.

  12. Donna did you send this as a letter to the editor? It seems that the only way we can make changes in this county is to call them out in public. Then the fun begins when they all start telling lies that they didn't do it!

  13. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    I did send this as a letter to the editor. I sent it to the Dunnville Chroncile, Regional News and the Sachem, whether it will be printed or not is another story. I hope it is printed to make everyone aware of our "service level".

    It is good to know that there are others out there that feel the same way that I do.

    I am not asking for the impossible to be done here, just asking to beef up the service.

    The last few years I am sure that we have come near or under budget on snow removal, and that is always the danger as the budget seems to get even lower. But when the winter is as extreme as this one the county needs to do the right thing and make sure that our roads are safe and passable.

    Most people do not have the luxury of staying home or waiting for the plows. Like the person who needs to go to Hamilton for medical care. I have been making any of my appointments in the afternoon hoping that the roads are clear by that time.

    I will say once again "Kudo's" to the roads crew for having to work on such a tight schedule. They certainly know all the hot spots and must be frustrated when they know that all the roads will not get done in a timely manner. Mother nature can be hard to fight, but when you are on minimum service it makes it near impossible!