Dear editor: I submitted a letter to The Western Star in 1972 regarding a problem I had dumped on me by a local contractor and the department of highways. Forty-five years later, here we go again.
I have owned a piece of land bordered by the south shore highway for over 60 years and lived on it for over 50 years in a house I built in 1960.
A gentleman purchased land to mine about 20-years ago. He constructed a building there to house a post office. Both these properties were on the lower side of the highways approximately five to seven metres below the elevation of the highway.
During the construction of this building, there was some 300-400 loads of material ballast dumped on this property to bring it up to the same elevation as the south shore highway, pretty well leaving me buried. During the winter the snow blowing off this parking lot buried my driveway to the extent we were forced to leave our home and move into an apartment outside the town I had grown up in, raised a family, had served on council and had been chair of a recreation committee.
After my house was vacant for a number of years it became dilapidated and the town council put pressure on me to have the house removed or they would have a contractor go in and remove the house and the cost would be billed to me.
A senior on a fixed income, I had the house removed and the land cleaned up.
Sometime later I got a call from the department of highways asking me where I would access this land if I were to build back on this property. I advised him that there would be no problem with access to my property, as I would have to have it backfilled to the same level as the post office and its parking lot in order to live there.
I was advised that I would not be allowed to place any fill within 15 metres of the centre of the south shore highway.
Here I am with a block of land that has been made almost worthless by a council that granted a permit to an individual to dump loads of ballast almost on top of two senior citizens driving them from their home and now I am not allowed to place a wheelbarrow full of material on this land.
So I turn to government for support, a government I have paid taxes into for more than 60 years and I contact by email or phone the offices of Gudie Hutchings, my federal member. Her staff member told me this is not a federal problem.
I email Gerry Byrne’s office outlining my problem.
I might add I voted for Gerry a couple of years ago. I won’t be making that mistake again. I emailed Eddie Joyce’s office, MHA for the riding my land is located in, contacted the department of highways, contacted Service NL east and west and sent an email to Andrew Parsons office outlining my problem.
Why Andrew Parsons, the minister of Justice? Because I sat my boney arse on a very hard chair and listened to Mr. Parsons for the better part of an hour tell a group of seniors what he would do for seniors if he were elected.
I contacted him by email and phoned the office of Lisa Dempster. I contacted Barry Fleming the citizen’s representative, a.k.a. ombudsman, contacted the Department of Highways and Deer Lake engineering.
Of all the departments and agencies that I contacted, I received two replies. One was in the form of a phone call from a gentleman with the engineering department who was more than helpful.
The way things stand now is I have to fill out an application, bring it to the department of highways at Deer Lake and they will send an inspector to look at my property.
If he grants me my request for access to my land, I will have to acquire a permit at the cost of $50 to access a property I lived on for over 50 years.
If I am turned down for access to this property, the only people I will be able to sell this land to will be a member of the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise who will park their vehicle on the post office lot, flip open his transporter and say, “Beam me down into the front porch, dear.”