BONAVISTA, N.L. — While the Town of Bonavista has no interest in taking over responsibility of several province-managed roads in the community, they do have certain expectations from the Department of Transportation and Works regarding the routes in question.
“Still residents in Bonavista don’t seem to realize that a lot of the roads aren’t ours,” explained Bonavista Mayor John Norman in an interview with The Packet on April 26.
He added these often include “the roads that need the most work” — Church Street, Coster Street, Hospital Road, Station Road and Confederation Drive are all provincial roads. He says they haven’t been able to send their own crews out even to fill a pothole on these streets.
He also notes that these roads are actually seeing more traffic in recent years than in quite some time.
Norman, along with several of the councillors, attended the meeting in St. John’s with Bonavista MHA Neil King and the Minister of Transportation and Works Steve Crocker.
“There was, of course, discussion around would the Town want to take over some of the roads,” said Norman.
However, this is not something Bonavista wants right now.
“The Town really doesn’t have an appetite to do that right now. We’ve got our own infrastructure challenges and needs.”
Norman said they used the opportunity to discuss road maintenance — identifying some key troublesome spots in the town and talking line painting.
“One of the big pieces we talked about — which was a real problem highlighted last year because we really reached our peak visitation — was when lines were painted.”
Norman explained that during peak tourist season last summer, including a big influx of local traffic, all the lines on the roads managed by the province didn’t get painted until August.
He said this resulted in many fender benders and pedestrians being struck by cars — especially because of people unfamiliar with the routes and having no direction by way of lines.
“No crosswalks painted, no median lines painted and something had to be done.”
According to Norman, he’s been told by MHA King, the department will now rotate where they start painting their lines. Typically, being situated at the end of the Peninsula, Bonavista was the last to see painting done.
“Instead of Bonavista being last now, this year — and we’re going to hold them to that — we’re going to be first,” said Norman. “Which automatically means someone else is going to be last, but it’s only fair; as it was going, it used to start in Burin or Clarenville and radiate out.
He says, as a result, tiny communities along the way would get their lines painted well before Bonavista.
“Nothing against those communities, but they just didn’t have the traffic, getting done a month before us when there’s 2,000 cars up and down Church Street in the run of a morning.
“This alternating of painting is one of the big victories, I must say, of this meeting.”
Norman says they’ve already seen some much-needed maintenance work done on these provincial roads in Bonavista and he expects the lines to be painted much sooner than usual this year.
The Packet contacted the Department of Transportation and Works for comment, however, there was no reply as of time of publication.