Getting to and from the Sunset Parkway trailer court off Georgetown Road has been a challenge over the past few months.
On Nov. 28 a rain storm sent the brook that normally flows under Candow Drive, the only access road to the manufactured-home community, rushing over the street.
The resulting damage meant the road, owned by trailer court owners Killam Properties, had to be closed and another way found for the residents of the 84 homes that make up the trailer court to get in.
The solution came in an old woods-type road or path used mostly by people on ATV and snowmobile. Part of that road is privately owned and Killam Properties through Martek Morgan-Finch, property managers of the trailer court, received permission to use it as an access point.
That road meets up with Hilliard’s Road at the top of a hill. The section of Hilliard’s Road from O’Connell Drive up to the hill is owned by the City of Corner Brook.
It’s the city owned section that trailer court resident Nelson Parsons has an issue with.
Thinks city isn't doing enough
Parsons doesn’t think the city is doing enough to keep its portion of the road cleared of snow and in suitable driving condition.
He moved into the trailer court in early March and since then he said he has torn the muffler off his car driving over the road and seen other vehicles damaged.
“It’s not fit,” he said.
“Once you get up over the top of the hill the road is excellent with regards to getting up here, but just getting in over Hillard’s Hill you almost got to beat yourself silly to get in over it.”
He said he’s made several calls to the city about the Hilliard’s Road section and is speaking out on behalf of residents of the trailer court who are concerned with the condition of the road.
“If an emergency happens up here and there’s either bit of snow on the road at all ... there’s no ambulance getting here, there’s no police vehicle getting here, there is no fire truck getting here if there’s a fire, nothing if that hill is not being maintained,” he said.
Parsons said the road needs to be levelled and have salt put on it regularly.
“It’s time for the City of Corner Brook to step up and maintain Hilliard’s Road.”
Mayor Charles Pender said in an interview Wednesday that the lower section of the road is maintained by the city on a regular basis.
He noted that while the city is not responsible for the upper section it has been doing some work there to help keep it passable.
Pender said the city has spent about $3,500 in the area this winter grading and putting class A gravel on it.
“You can do it every day, it doesn’t matter,” said Pender. “It’s still getting churned up.
“With the amount of traffic that’s going over it now, that it was never intended for, it’s just impossible for those residents to get back and forth in any comfortable way,” he said.
Pender said the residents need to be understanding and have patience until Candow Drive can be fixed.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the property owner of the trailer court to fix the entrance so that people can access their properties.”
In a followup email on Thursday, Pender said city crews looked at the lower section earlier that day and noted it was rough and that they will be doing more work there.
“But again it’s not designed for the traffic it is seeing.”
Meanwhile, Steve Loder, vice-president of operations with Martek Morgan-Finch, said when the flooding occurred the property managers knew they had to find a way to get people into and out of the park.
And the back road connecting to Hilliard’s Road, which he describes as a “cow path,” was the only option.
“It’s not the best possible solution, but honestly it’s the only one we had,” he said.
So, Loder said the company put “a hell of a lot of dollars” into creating a road where one doesn’t exist.
“Is it perfect? No. I’ll be the first to admit to you that it is not perfect, but it is the best possible situation that we could have put together in the time that we had.”
And he said they’ve been maintaining the top part of the road to the best possible level they can. Loder said when they get complaints from residents they go in and try to do something.
However, he said any complaints about the lower section have to go to the city.
Loder said the company looked at making repairs to Candow Drive right after the flooding, but doing so was more complicated than first thought.
He said the bridge on the road is essentially a culvert system that is on a provincial waterway.
“So when we looked at replacing the culvert it wasn’t as simple as lets dig it up, put a new culvert in and put it back,” said Loder.
An engineer had to be hired to do up plans for the work and those plans had to be approved by both the city and the province.
After some delay the necessary approvals have been received and the next step is to tender the project once the weather improves.
He said the owners have decided to take the opportunity to not just replace the culverts, but to make other improvements to the waterlines in the area at the same time.