Eighteen homeowners in St. Davids are hoping the Town will right a wrong they believe goes back almost 15 years, and which continues to make their lives a misery, especially during hot, dry summers like this one.
Sixteen of the homes are part of the Courtland Valley Estates subdivision, on Hickory Avenue, and two are on Tanbark Road.
They border Dyck Lane, a gravel road which is privately owned and provides access to three homes.
Every time a vehicle uses the lane, a cloud of dust is created for those homeowners, says Bill Krahn, who spoke to councillors at their virtual planning committee meeting Monday night, asking the Town to take responsibility and remedy the situation.
This is the third council residents have approached for help, and he and his neighbours are beyond frustrated. The dust affects their health and their quality of life, says Krahn, because of a situation the Town created.
Residents subjected to excessive dust say they can’t enjoy their backyard or an outdoor meal, and patio tables, chairs and even plants have to be washed down daily.
There have been presentations to council going back to 2015, petitions signed by the residents, and correspondence repeating their quest for the Town to take responsibility for the situation.
Kahn told councillors the issue goes back to a 2006 draft subdivision agreement with the developer of the neighbourhood, which said the developer should supply access to Dyck Lane for emergency vehicles, and the laneway should have an all-weather surface such as concrete or asphalt, with gates or knock-downs, removable bollards. He pointed to two other local subdivisions where this has occurred, as dictated by the Town’s own engineering standards, and the Ontario Building Code, he said.
He also refers to a Town bylaw that calls for roads abutting residential properties to have a hard surface.
Yet over the years, the Town has consistently failed to take responsibility, he said, discouraged that what came out of Monday’s meeting was a request to staff for another report.
The residents’ preferred solution is for the Town to close Dyck Lane, create a safe entrance and exit for the three homeowners who depend on it, put down asphalt, and leave the laneway chained or with knock-downs for emergency vehicles.
There was a discussion amongst councillors about the possibility of going back to the developer to pay for that solution, but that might be difficult — the developer is no longer buidling in NOTL, says Krahn.
As councillors discussed requesting a staff report, Krahn tried to ask for the laneway to at least be sprayed with a dust suppressant to give residents immediate relief, but at that point in the meeting, he was not allowed to speak, leaving him to hope for a speedy report and resolution.
Dust suppressant has been suggested in past years, but never with an agreement about who would pay for it.
“I hope council will take full responsibility and immediate action to fix it,” he said Monday evening.
“Come visit. You’ve got to see it for yourself.”
He asked them for a much needed resolution, “fast.”
“These people are all seniors, and they need help.”
Tuesday morning, he said he was frustrated and concerned this request would not be any different from the others, that it will end up to be another case of “100 per cent passing the buck.”