Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
July 19, 2024
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Letters June 26

<p>(Jed Tallo/GazetteStaff)</p>
(Jed Tallo/GazetteStaff)

A Letter to the Premier on Hwy 49

Dear Premier,

As our province heads into summer, many folks and families are planning trips around the province. A favourite getaway for many is Prince Edward County. In fact, I was recently married in that area — and while my primary focus was not road maintenance, I was shocked by the severity of the poor road conditions.

Premier, CAA has released its worst-roads report for 2024. The 4th worst road in the province is County Road 49 in Prince Edward County. As the Critic for Infrastructure, Transportation and Highways, I wanted to raise this with you. As a visitor and Ontario tourist, I recognize that the brutal degeneration and disrepair of this provincially downloaded road must cause damage to many vehicles and create endless repair work for the municipality. County Road 49 serves as the eastern gateway to this beautiful county and it is falling apart.

As the Critic for Infrastructure, Transportation and Highways, I also recognize the challenge of affording ongoing repair work in an economy where costs are ever-increasing. This lemon of a road was an unwanted burden from governments past, yet it continues to be a mess even under this government. I am aware that many Ministers have visited and seen the state of the roadway, and that you are also aware of the needs in that area. I hope that the people of Prince Edward County can count on your government to do right by their community and either take back responsibility for the road, or build them a replacement.  

Prince Edward County residents are looking forward to their new hospital and LTC home expansion. It should be highlighted that both of those significant investments are going to be built along this wild road. I can’t imagine expensive medical equipment – or ambulance passengers – making it to their destination safely or smoothly. It is my understanding that necessary studies and engineering work have been done and that this road could be a shovel-ready project with your government’s blessing.

Roads this bad have to be looked after, and the people of Prince Edward County are not able to afford the work needed to do it properly. Please work with them to solve this 18-kilometre problem — the 4th-worst road in the province.

Jennifer French 

MPP Oshawa & Official Opposition Critic for Infrastructure, Transportation, and Highways

A Duty of Care to Protect Picton Bay

I am writing to object to the recent decision by the County Council to ask the CEO to draft an offer to settle its current legal proceedings against Picton Terminals. Those proceedings are to enforce County zoning by-laws.

The Gazette has published several wonderful letters on the reasons that this approach is neither wise nor informed and I won’t repeat these arguments now. However, I would like to draw public attention to two matters that need more attention.

The first of these relates to the decision by Council to support proposals for the Picton Terminals site a few years ago.

At that time and on two occasions later, I appeared before Council to advise that the data in the original presentation seeking support for Picton Terminals was very misleading. Data relating to substantial employment promised for the site was attributed to two studies by the Eastern Ontario Mayors and Wardens Caucus. Unfortunately, neither of the studies  referred to Picton Terminals or Picton, which means that the employment and income generation possibilities referred to in the Picton Terminals presentation to Council were simply fiction. 

To this day, the County Council does not have an independent and substantial understanding of the economic impact of the current facility nor of any of the possibilities for expansion that the company has proposed.

In short, the original decision by Council to support development at Picton Terminals was flawed and should have been revisited once it became apparent that it was based on misleading data — but that did not happen. That is one of many reasons why many residents have been negatively affected by noise, pollution and excessive light and it is why we still need to deal with the Picton Terminals problem today. In my opinion, legal proceedings are the only way to proceed because of past mismanagement of the file beginning with Council’s initial decisions respecting it.

The second issue is that current and proposed activities at Picton Terminals are a hazard to public health. Clean water has dramatically improved life here and elsewhere over many years and ensuring clean water and avoiding risks to water quality is  one of the most fundamental responsibilities of governments. The evidence from past transgressions by Picton Terminals is that Council needs to devote much more attention to this aspect of the Picton Terminals problem to discharge the duty of care it has on a fundamental matter involving population health. Picton Harbor is a municipal water reservoir and protecting it is vital.

David Mackinnon, Picton

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 26 edition of The Picton Gazette
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