by Isabel Mosseler
Half load restrictions happen every spring during the thaw, as municipalities and the province work to preserve their highways and byways, but this spring’s half load restriction on Leblanc Road has caused further friction between Steve Morrison of MX Constructors and the Municipality of West Nipissing.
Morrison, who is still in civil litigation with the municipality, contends that the municipality is intentionally making business hard for him. He has a yard for his heavy equipment in the town’s industrial park on Leblanc Road and in previous years, the half load restriction was posted at the south side of his entrance, allowing him access. This year, the half load restriction is posted at the beginning of Leblanc, right from Hwy 17, so Morrison cannot bring his machinery on and off his property to conduct business.
The town usually posts the restrictions on the 15th of March, and Morrison says he received an email on March 5th from Director of Public Works Shawn Remillard. “Apparently last year the Leblanc Road load restriction sign was installed just past the MX property. Due to the resurfacing of Leblanc Road last fall the sign will be installed at Hwy 17 from this year forward in an effort to prolong the life of the resurfaced roadway,” reads the email.
Morrison points out the irony of the municipality creating an industrial park that tenants cannot access with heavy equipment, saying it is poor planning. “You have an industrial park without having access to it year-round. …It’s the responsibility of the municipality to make sure the road is adequate.”
He responded with his own email to the town. “I regret to inform you that the municipality is not in a position to put a half load restriction on Leblanc Road to our entrance, as this was part of our purchase agreement when we purchased land from the municipality in their industrial park. Furthermore, I am sure that the other land owners in the municipality industrial park will have issues with half load restrictions,” he wrote.
Remillard responded that there was no record of that agreement. The other current landowners, according to Morrison, are Michel Savage and Collin Bourgeois, as well as a tenancy by Hydro One.
“I do need to have access and so do all the other tenants who have property there. Mike Savage has built his building so he needs access for his big office trailers in and out. …We share an entrance; it’s my entrance but I let him use it. The big steel building and first dome is mine and the other dome is his and he stores all of his trailers and stuff and he has a tenant there, which is Hydro One. Collin Bourgeois has a lot in back; he put in a culvert last year – I think he’s planning on building this year,” he says.
Bourgeois is indeed planning to build a crematorium on the site, but says he doesn’t think the restriction will hamper his plans, as he does not anticipate starting during the restriction period, from March 15 until the thaw is complete.
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