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Houston resident wants his roads fixed

Mud when it’s wet and dust when it’s dry, says Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland’s property taxes have been going up but the condition of the roads in his neighbourhood has been going down, says the Norwood Street resident.

“I pay $3,300 a year in property taxes and that includes the discount and for that I get nothing except garbage pick up. Just fix my roads,” said Strickland who has now made two appearances before the District of Houston council to plead his case.

Strickland said a District of Houston grader several years ago tore up the sealcoat surface resulting in dust clouds in dry weather and mud in wet weather.

Trucks and equipment brought in when a cell tower was erected adjacent to the cemetery further ruined road surfaces and added to the deteriorating driving conditions, he said.

“I just assumed the District would fix what it had done,” said Strickland. “I pay my taxes. I just want my roads fixed.”

While there has been some patchwork at the access to the cell tower, the potholes have returned as has the dust, he said.

Gravel topped by a calcium-like substance to reduce dust does little good, Strickland continued.

He said the situation is just as bad further down along Hwy16 Crescent.

“The road is so bad there you do nothing but swerve to avoid the potholes and even then you can’t,” he said.

Strickland said District crews were on Hwy 16 Crescent July 26 to fill in holes.

Smaller ones were filled with asphalt and the larger ones with what Strickland said was dirt mixed with gravel.

“[They] tried to pack it down with a compactor. It will be washed away with the next rain storm we get. Didn’t even get it level. Not impressed with this job at all,” he said of the work on the larger holes.

Strickland also questioned the District’s approval of the location for the cell tower now across from the cemetery.

“Have you seen it? It’s huge. How would you like that in your neighbourhood,” he said.

Strickland’s appearances before council came via a District practice of allowing citizens to speak on topics of their choosing at the start of each council meeting.

Strickland’s second appearance before council on July 18 did draw a response from District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar who said staffers were not aware that a grader was sent to tear up the sealcoat on Strickland’s street.

And he told Strickland there were no plans this year to pave Highway 16 Crescent.

“Routes are chosen based on strategic or key aspects including the state they’re in and unfortunately that road wasn’t chosen for the paving program this year,” he said.

The District has committed itself to spending $650,000 on paving and repairs elsewhere this year.

The list takes in Butler Street, from 14th to 16th Street, 10th Street and Poulton Avenue, 10th Street and Copeland Avenue, Benson Street for a single lane to Railway, Olsson Street from Nadina to Goold, the Mountainview and Gillespie Intersection, the Riverbank corner at Hafter and Gushwa Road to the first intersection.

Money for roadworks generally comes from the federal gas rebate provided to the District each year.

And in the past several years, the roads budget has been increased by using monies from a major provincial grant received in 2019 and in 2020 from the provincial government.

A 2018 report on the condition of the District’s roads indicated that up to $1.5 million was needed each year for repairs.

About the Author: Rod Link

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