Keeping the Peace
By Tom Lessard, C.D.
(Continued from last issue)
The saga of the sewers continued throughout the town with no end in sight. Rumours abounded that the sewers would be finished by December, and the road paved the following year. These optimists must have been talking about another town.
Once the sewers were laid and some paving done, we were told we could hook up. One resident, whose house is situated about 70’ back from the road, was having a bathroom installed in his basement. This required digging deep to make a hook up. The engineers must have misread his instructions because the hook up did not even come close to the sewer intake, which was much higher. The only solution was to dig up the road and put a new intake connection lower down on the main sewer. Unfortunately for the resident, his water was shut off so they could lay the pipes, and his septic tank had already been detached, so he and his wife had no bathroom facilities. The authorities told him to rent a “porta-potty”. Instead, he moved to his trailer for a few days.
For about a year, because of the sinkholes and settling of the roadway, we enjoyed a feeling of driving on a motocross track as we traveled to and from our home. Another year went by with no trucks or tourists going through town, which meant no business for our local gas bar and variety store.
To add to our woes, an inspector found cracks in our new bridge, and it had to be closed for repairs. Detours again.
When hook up time arrived, we were told we had nine months to complete the process, which involved getting estimates from different plumbers and contractors.
The best estimate for our house was $1500, while others were quoted $3000. Our contractor was quick, neat and clean, and took just over three hours to complete the job for $1400. Other people had estimates of as high as $9500. After contacting our contractors, they ended up saving close to $7000. Perhaps there was some greed involved? Some residents are still not hooked up.
Last July, we received a notice saying we had to choose how to pay for the sewer service: either cash up front, or over 20 years at six per cent interest. We had two weeks to comply. The deadline was on a Monday. One of my neighbours was away on holidays and didn’t get the notice until the Sunday before the deadline. Not enough time to arrange for the cash. Another senior citizen arrived at the municipal office the day after the deadline with money in hand and was told she was too late.
To add to her misery, this woman has been trying to sell her beautiful home for quite some time, but prospective buyers are turning away because of a messy property across the street. The same thing is happening in the east end of town, where a neighbour’s yard is littered with cars, trucks, machinery and household articles.
We are pursuing a way to bring to the attention of all residents the bylaws referring to keeping their residences and yards in neat, tidy and good repair. Bylaws are accessible at www.town.southhuron.on.ca under By-Laws: Property Standards 41-2002. Have a look, and then look at your own properties. Pat yourself on the back if you’re up to date.