Percy Barrett, MHA for the District of Bellevue, says the
hardship being caused by the ill conceived government policy of not
maintaining class four roads has now reached a critical point.
"The most severe hardship is now starting to be felt as
we get more snow and people are unable to get back and forth to their
homes," said Barrett. "This is the first Winter since the Conservative
government introduced the policy of not maintaining class four roads.
"The real problem is that this government has
introduced this policy in an arbitrary manner without doing a comprehensive
review of the roads that were classified as class four. Now the Minister is
too stubborn to admit that he made a mistake and address the problems that
exist. I have asked for a review of class four roads in the past and it is
time the Minister took my advice.
"Some of the roads classified as class four have
permanent residents living on them. There are children who have to make it
to school and there are people who have medical problems which might require
quick access in case of emergencies. Old Mill Road in Goobies is a clear
example of a road that is classified incorrectly. This road has been
maintained by the government for over 30 years."
Barrett also says he is frustrated because he is aware
of cases where the Conservative government has either circumvented the
policy or attempted to do so. "The road to Big Falls in the District of
Humber Valley has been upgraded and the Minister of Finance himself tried to
have a road in his district upgraded to a class three road. These cases may
also be legitimate, but what I donít like is the double standard which
exists with this government. If you are in a Conservative district, you get
treated differently than others. This is the worst kind of political
patronage and the public of this province should not stand for it."
The Liberal MHA says he will continue to raise this
issue until the Minister addresses the real problems that exist. "The sad
part is not so much the cost involved, but rather a stubborn Minister who
does not want to admit that he made a mistake."