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Broken roads frustrate P.E.I. MLA

Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie
Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie - SaltWire Network

Opposition MLA Colin LaVie says one farmer had to turn to media to get his fixed

Opposition MLA Colin LaVie says no Islander should have to turn to the media to get a P.E.I. road fixed.

LaVie brought one West Prince farmer’s concerns to question period in the legislature on Friday.

While he didn’t name the farmer or the area the farmer lives in, LaVie said the man grew so frustrated at his attempts to contact MLAs over a road in disrepair he felt he had no other option but to turn to the media. And, he pointed out once the story saw the light of day it was only then that the transportation department acted.

“We know that roads in rural P.E.I. are in rough shape,’’ LaVie said. “Some have really broken down over the last 10 years.’’

LaVie first asked Robert Henderson, minister of agriculture, what the process is for getting roads fixed. Henderson replied that he tries to work with the road supervisor when informed of a broken road by constituents. And, the minister said roads that need repair are prioritized every year.

That’s when LaVie said there’s something wrong with the process, referring to the farmer and the broken road in West Prince.

“The road was broken up so bad that they were driving on the shoulder of the road,’’ LaVie said. “With the big machinery that is dangerous so he went to his local MLA (and) his local MLA passed him on to another local MLA that said it was in his district.

“Number 2 MLA sent him back to the first MLA so he didn’t know what to do so he called the transportation minister. How do residents make sure bad roads don’t become political footballs?’’

Transportation Minister Paula Biggar then stepped in, explaining that government has invested millions of dollars in roads and is now able to fix more roads than ever.

“We are under a new collective agreement with the feds now,’’ Biggar said. “Any roads that have 1,000 cars or more on it are now eligible for 50/50 (provincial/federal) funding so we can invest more money. It depends on how much traffic is on the road.’’

Again, LaVie pressed Biggar on why people have to turn to the media before they get answers.

Biggar responded by saying she refers requests for road repairs on to her district supervisor and to the county supervisor to identify priorities and needs.

Speaking of roads

- Transportation Minister Paula Biggar said the Cornwall bypass, originally budgeted for $65 million (cost-shared by federal government), is set to come in 10 per cent under budget

- Biggar said the project, originally scheduled to open in the fall of 2019, is also ahead of schedule

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