Saturday, February 17, 2018

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Opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the letter authors and not of The Meaford Independent.

Editor,

At the December 11/17 Council meeting, By-Law 2017-69 was passed unanimously by Council. This By-Law permits Meaford to place load limit warning signs on thirteen crucial bridges in rural Meaford. Treasurer Mr. Chapman told Council that no consultation had occurred with any of the hundreds of regular users of these bridges but the latest inspection reports of these bridges was so bad that Meaford must unilaterally post these weight restrictions immediately!

These limits vary from bridge to bridge with a low of 5 tons and highs of 15 tons. If you use these bridges and exceed the weight limit you are breaking the law. There will be no advanced warning and no provision for turning around. There is no explanation given on how this by-law would be enforced by the OPP or MOT.

As well as most 18 wheel transports easily exceeding these posted limits so will the following commercial, agricultural and emergency vehicles:

Firefighting trucks

Snowplows

Milk transport

Fuel tankers

Construction equipment

Hydro repair/construction

Tractors towing grain bins , hay wagons or large implements

No clarification given on how to deal with two legal weight vehicles crossing simultaneously in opposite directions but combined weight exceeding limit. Considering the seriousness of this issue, if you check the video of the Council meeting, the few questions posed by councillors are quite lame, as though they were either unprepared or just don’t get it. This issue is a bombshell.

I’m sure at the next Council meeting, the CAO and team will introduce an economic plan that will take up the slack of losing so much agribusiness to this crumbling infrastructure. Would guess that fire coverage may require a couple of new fire halls, equipment, and crews due to the number of areas isolated by low tonnage bridges. If you rely on fuel oil/propane delivery for heat, better think wood and electric and hope no hydro emergencies occur. Snowplowing could be a challenge but extra crew and purchasing newer lightweight plows would solve that. It would seem that one of the core responsibilities of Council is to provide the leadership and guidance to ensure that Meaford citizens can continue to live safe and productive lives.

Maintaining key infrastructure like bridges should have always been a top priority.

As TMI reader Barry Vallier has pointed out, this Council has tolerated a senior staff that has built up reserves to well over $6.4 million, primarily because of over-forecasting capital project expenditures and not completing them and then sitting on the money. Now these wizards of smart tell us that things are not getting done because they do not have enough staff with the right skill sets and MORE staff is required. It would appear we have had Senior staff without the right skill sets for the last ten years! Wake up Council, it’s time to clean house, if we are need of $75 million in infrastructure spending in the next decade, this Staff is not up to the task!

Ray McHugh, Meaford


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