It’s the talk of the season

Brain droppings


Greetings North Gremlins, as well as those making big decisions for we ‘gremlins’: this must be version # 25 or more of my annual Winter Edition Letter to Council.  

Since I moved onto one of the two remaining dirt roads in North Grenville, in January of 1998…just prior to the Ice Storm, I have had to learn a lot about country living. Most of it very pleasing…some of it being in need of repair. Since I have just about completed the repairs to my property and abode, there’s just one last, ongoing item on my list – my egress to the road.

A neighbour with a very big tractor came and plowed me out after our most recent snow storm. He, being new to the road, remarked how, despite the taxes that we pay, we still live on a narrow gravel road, with virtually no internet (our phone lines date back to the 60’s and party lines), we certainly have no natural gas, no cable, no curbs, no street lights, nor any sidewalks. And when the Public Works Department gets around to it, our road gets plowed…in the worst way possible. Our mailboxes get buried.

I told him about my decades-long efforts to effect some changes, going back to pre-Gooch days. He said he was not familiar with Mr. Gooch – I told him that Mr. Gooch was a very interesting mayor. When he asked why the grader came from the west to the east, moving most of the road’s snow on the first pass to the mailbox side of the road, I explained the reasoning that I had been given (by Karen Dunlop) and he couldn’t believe his ears.  

He listened, then asked, “They say that dirt roads can only be plowed by graders? Some townships don’t follow that ‘rule’. They are coming from O’Neil Road, and because they have to hurry up and get to The Nursery, they can’t take the time to do it in the other direction?’  Really! They actually said that?” 

I assured him that that was pretty much the conversation…complete with maps, etc.  I am still wondering what is so important about The Ferguson Nursery to cause us our problems. I also advised my newly landed neighbour that he will find that the mail is delivered differently on our road.  

My mail delivery person has told me, in past winters, when the snow is deep, as are the ditches on his route, that they only deliver mail to the group mailboxes.  

He said, in a disbelieving voice,  “They only deliver to the group mailboxes? Yikes! Somebody must be breaking the law. How can any individual or corporate (not corpulent) entity interfere with the regular delivery of mail?”  

My response was, “This is a question that I have mailed in since…’Noah took up boat-building’, as my saintly mother used to say, and yet…no answer.”

We have had several ‘episodes’ of snow so far this winter. McGovern Road is treated like an after-thought. We drive through the snow (that’s how we, the residents, often plow our road) and when I get to Irishtown Road, it has been plowed….both ways! and sanded!  There isn’t a soul living on that 1.5 km patch of nice pavement. There are dozens living on my road…despite the fact that at a recent re-zoning meeting, my property was described as ‘a swamp’, by some wondrously-informed public official – we are still of some importance, more, I hope, than we have in the eyes of the Public Works Department (not deportment).  

So, in conclusion, I would like to take a moment to provide my annual report on the condition of our United Empire Loyalist Era road – our 2.5 km piece of an Upper Canada Village-like thoroughfare – and the less-than-delightful manner in which it is ‘serviced’ in the winter months.

I don’t expect that I’ll get much of a response. I certainly don’t think I’ll see any changes to: a) the snow removal practices of the long-entrenched Public Works Department., or b) the spending of any money on our dirty road… while other paved thoroughfares get another layer of modern surfacing.  

If I didn’t have such a naive mind, I would think that we were being discriminated against. I know for a fact that Her Worship would not put up with that. We are an inclusive, tolerant community. This, thanks to her exemplary leadership and the efforts of her hard working council. Until next winter…

P. Johnson (Upper Oxford Mills)



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