The residents of Hickory Avenue in St. Davids have run out of patience.
Their emails to Lord Mayor Betty Disero and town staff indicate their frustration, as they prepare to face another summer without a solution to the dust bowl that is created when cars drive along the privately-owned and unpaved Dyck Lane, which borders their subdivision.
The problem goes back more than a decade, still with no resolution, other than the spreading of sodium chloride to temporarily reduce the dust.
The current council is the third one residents have approached for help.
They say the dust affects their health and their quality of life. They can’t enjoy their backyard or an outdoor meal, and patio tables, chairs and even plants have to be washed down daily during the summer.
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.
In recent emails from residents to the lord mayor and councillors, a deadline of May 8 has been set for a resolution. Their frustration is increasing, and the only fall-back is to threaten to withdraw support in the next municipal election.
Leading up to the 2014 election, Disero, then a first-time candidate for councillor, about the issue, promised to find a solution. There was no progress that term of council, but she again promised she would work to find a solution when she was running for lord mayor.
Last fall, Disero said staff were directed to “finalize and complete negotiations with all interested parties,” and to achieve an amenable agreement on the use of Dyck Lane. If a solution couldn’t be achieved by Dec. 1, the town would impose “an alternate traffic pattern” to resolve the matter.
That also didn’t happen, and with all discussions taking place in closed sessions of council, Disero says she recognizes residents are increasingly frustrated, not knowing the solution under discussion or the hold-up in settling it.
Bound by the confidentiality of closed sessions of council, Disero can only say it’s a real estate issue, and discussions are ongoing with the property owners.
“I get that they’re frustrated. I’m frustrated too,” says Disero. “There are some issues that just take time, and this is one of them. We were hoping for a solution by December. Now we’re working our way through the process, and we’ll get to it.”
She hopes to have it settled for this summer, but can’t make any promises, she says, because it involves not just the town, but the owners of the private lane.