Martintown Main Street in protest over road conditions

Nick Seebruch
Martintown Main Street in protest over road conditions
Signs lining the main street of Martintown describe resident's frustration with the state of their road (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

MARTINTOWN, Ontario – Residents and businesses along the strip of County Road 18 that runs through the heart of Martintown have put up signs in protest of the condition of the road and sidewalks.

They have also begun a petition to present to council on the issue. As of Tuesday morning, that petition had 178 signatures.

The committee that formed to advocate for the road to be repaired calls itself the Silver Spike.

One Silver Spike member, Kevin Ceasor, said that the main concern is safety.

“There’s a big drop from the sidewalk on the road here and there are a lot of kids and seniors in town who could get hurt on that,” he said.

He pointed out some places where the sidewalk had been destroyed all together, and all that remained was gravel. He also noted that the telephone poles along that stretch of road were in poor condition and might not be able to withstand the coming winter.

“We had a guy come to do some work on the telephone pole outside our place and he wouldn’t even put a ladder against it it looked so unsafe,” he said.

The signs lining the street describe the problems. The signs read “Toe stud”, “Rutted Road”, “Pot Holes”, and “Roadbase Failure”.

The maintenance and repair of roads is the responsibility of the United Counties of SD&G.

Benjamin de Haan, Director of Transporation and Planning Services for the United Counties said that while he had not heard about the protest, he was aware of the infrastructure problems in Martintown.

“We looked at the situation two-to-three years ago, but held off because of the Glengarry Water Project,” de Haan said. “We don’t want to resurface the road if it is going to be torn up in a couple of years to put in a water main, so we put it on hold until we find out if the Glengarry Water Project is a go or not.”

The Glengarry Water Project was spearheaded by North Glengarry. The aim of the project is to create a water pipeline from Cornwall to Maxville. The pipeline would pass through Martintown.

Ryan Morton said that drinkable ground water in Maxville is scarce and that the township has known about this problem for a long time.

What is holding up the Glengarry Water Project he said is the cost and the fact that the Township is waiting to be green-lit for funding from the province.

Morton said that the price tag of the Glengarry Water Project is between $60 to $62 million.

“We are looking for funding and any help we can get from the province,” he said. “The province wants to make sure that we have done our due diligence on this project and right now we need to reacquaint Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli with the project. We looked at other options to get water to Maxville and this is the most cost effective.”

Minister Chiarelli was recently returned to the Ministry of Infrastructure during this summer’s cabinet shuffle.

Ewen MacDonald, General Manager of Infrastructure Services for South Glengarry, said that the Township is also holding off on repairing the sidewalks in Martintown until the fate of the Glengarry Water Project is decided.

“At some point we are going to have to look beyond that (the water project),” he said. “If there is nothing in the immediate future that’s going to happen, we will have to consider what we are going to do in Martintown.”

Ryan Morton said that he does not expect to receive funding for the project in the next six to 12 months, but said that it is hard to predict what the province will do in a year.

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