Thursday, July 21, 2011

The facts? That would be great please.

After this entry I hope to never discuss Baker Brook ever again on this blog.

This was taken directly from FOX FM News page this morning and was played on the air as I was travelling to work.

"A resident of New Maryland is concerned that flooding may start on Baker Brook Court if the village keeps just a paved curb on the street instead of digging a ditch. Bela Galantai made a presentation to the council about his concern last night, he says he wanted to educate council about the problem and hopes council can look into fixing it.
New Maryland Mayor Frank Dunn says he appreciates Galantai coming forward and he will take a look into his concern."

As you know, I am on New Maryland Council and happened to be there. I also have a little knowledge of details that were overlooked by the reporter on hand last night.

I really don't want to go back and detail all of the problems that have taken place with the Baker Brook project. I don't have enough time.
If you like, there's some details here in my blog entry from last year. A little bit weary I suppose. How are you?

I accept that far less people will read this than who heard the radio news item this morning. Plus, most reading this will not have heard it or even care about what I'm talking about.

So I guess I'm writing this as personal way to get things off my back and give some small satisfaction that (to steal a phrase from X-Files) "The Truth is Out There" since my local media outlets don't appear to share my attention to detail.

That's okay. They are very busy with many things.

Okay, let's go.

First of all, when the Baker Brook work was being planned as part of the larger Infrastucture project it was agreed that we should give the residents as much as we possibly can since it had been far too long since their street had been upgraded.

The sanitary system upgrade was mandatory since the existing wastewater lagoon had long passed the end of its lifespan and likely become an environmental hazard.

While this work was to happen the Council decided that we would go that extra mile and connect the residents to the Village municipal water supply. The new water tower being built in the project added some water capacity and hooking on a few more homes onto the system would be no problem.
Presently about 1/3 or so of the Village homes are connected to the Village system. The rest of us are on our own wells.

So that was added to what was to be done.

Prior to the project both sides of the street had sufficient drainage of storm water.
There had been no reports of inablity to handle the capacity of storm water that flowed on the street.
However, there were some funds available so that we could improve the storm drainage on the high side of the street and add curb and gutter and catchbasins while we were in there.
So we chose to go for it. After all, we were giving the residents of Baker Brook a sweet new street with sparkling new features already.

Keep in mind that there was nothing wrong with the system as it was. By rights all we really should have done was fix the road and keep the rest as it was.
This upgrade to the upper side of the street would add appeal to the appearance and also improve the stormwater drainage capacity. Just in case.

The lower side of the street was to remain as it is since we could not afford to do both sides.
That was okay though.
There are other places in New Maryland with curb on one side and none on the other. It's quite common and functions adequately.

The Village's consulting engineer has been satisfied with the work that we have decided to do.
This chap is a Professional Engineer who gets paid well to have knowledge in these things and provide these opinions to his clients.

That was fine with me.

Now to the present day.

The Baker Brook portion of the project is in its final stages.
The watermain laterals are installed in all except one home.
The sanitary system has been modified and that stuff is now travelling to our treatment plant instead of the derelict lagoon which it did before.

The stone is all down and the new curbing is finished on the upper side of the road.

There are a couple of things being tidied up and then it's paving time.
Brand new blacktop.
It will be quite a street to see.

Just prior to our Council meeting last night I received a message detailing this chap's concerns which he brought up with the engineer.
The engineer advised him that it is what it is but that he could go to the meeting and say what was on his mind if he wished.

When this dude started talking he indicated that he has been building concrete foundations for many years and personally did many of the homes in New Maryland.

Somewhere I thought I heard it mentioned that he stated that he is a developer but that is very different than building foundations for someone else completing a home.

Here's my thing.

As you see in the above news item he told the news that he wanted to educate Council about the problem.

First of all, who the heck is he to say that he will "educate" me??
I completely understand the value of practical experience related to formal education. In fact, there is a man I work with who has more experience-gained knowledge in his little finger than most people who are university or college educated.

But for this guy to stroll in out of nowhere and proclaim himself to be an expert and show us what's really going on? I don't think so.
Thanks anyway.

Secondly, this is the very end of the project. No-one has had any issues with the way we were doing this up until now.

Thirdly, there is no more money even if we wanted to add more curbs. The Infrastructure funds are done.
If there is to be more curbing it will have to come out of my Transportation budget. And that will not happen.

Right now we are working on a 5-year plan to add to the sidewalk system in the areas surrounding New Maryland Elementary School so that kids walking to school won't have to walk in the roadways as they do now.
This is my priority and you can't have any money from that.

Lastly, and this is pretty huge.
This guy ISN'T a New Maryland resident!
He lives in Fredericton and just bought a vacant lot on Baker Brook.
His plan is to build a house on the lot and probably sell it.
I don't think that he has ever had any intention of becoming a resident of the Village.
What I see is that he thinks that a new house with a new curb in front of it would fetch more than one without.

I should point out that the news item is confused about what is to go in and what this guy wants.

There is no problem with that drainage.
Will there ever be in the future? Maybe. Maybe not. Who the heck knows? With the wild weather the world is being hit with these days I think that we could all be in for surprises now and then.
The major flooding in New Brunswick last December was a perfect example of it.

I mentioned something last night which I'll say here.

Even if the Village had an extra $100,000, for example, to go out and build some curbs, what makes that piece of Baker Brook any more deserving than any other Village street that is in the same situation?

I'll wrap it up now.

Keep in mind that not all that you read is precise or even true and that even if it is true, there may be details not included that could change the entire tone or meaning.

Stay well,


Anonymous said...

Interesting how the "NEWS" seems to report the one person who has the least knowledge and makes a biggest stink.

You are venting and that is one of the great things about writing, and as you know elected officials
have to have a tough skin as people will always push and blame others if possible.

That being said, Baker Brook has been a disaster from the beginning and I think you'll agree that things
have reached a point where no matter how much paving and curbing you do some people will never be happy.

I have a theory as to why I think these people are unhappy.

Because no-one asked them.

Elected officials have to make decisions it goes with the job but I guess it comes down to this;

Are you elected because we think you are smarter than us and can better decide our fates than we can, Or are you elected because we want you to call
each resident and discuss what they think about every topic? hopefully somewhere in between, but just ask the previous provincial government what
the people think about governments deciding what is best for them.

It appears to me that many of the decisions regarding Baker Bk were decided by council with not much residential input.

What if Village Council would have just sorted out the Lagoon and left everything the same? It seems like the residents would have been happier
and the associated costs would have been significantly less.

Tim Scammell, PTech said...

Hmm. Too bad when people post comments anonymously. Especially when they're as on the ball as this person.
A couple of things I'll mention.
To do nothing to the street while doing the sanitary system would have ruffled feathers even if we could have done that. As it is we had to open the road to do the work. The flow of the sanitary line had to be changed from heading down to the end of the street into the lagoon to the other direction towards New Maryland Hwy. Changes in elevations were needed which weren't possible without working directly on the whole line.
I don't know if you had a chance to see Baker Brook before the work? It was a narrow goat path with deteriorated asphalt. When I was campaigning several of the residents mentioned the state of the roadway.
At the time I was not elected and made no promises. I suppose I should have and would now be seen as the hero who kept his word and got them a new street.
There were several opportunities for everyone everywhere to attend public hearings and open houses before the work started. These were advertised on the Village web site and ads were taken out in the newspaper.
I believe it may also have been stated on the local radio stations as well.
Unfortunately, none of the residents decided to attend any of these.
This would generally lead to a conclusion that the people are satisfied with what is proposed if they don't speak up with a concern or objection wouldn't you think?
You speak wisely though. Thank you for that.


Anonymous said...

Would be interested in hearing your views on Fracking ; considering your background in engineering, water, and government.

sorry goota stay anon for now.


Tim Scammell, PTech said...

Sorry, but you're not going to get my views on fracking.
At least not until New Maryland Council has had a chance to fully review it (which we are presently doing) and come forward with our collective opinion.
My background makes no difference to what I say publicly but does assist during Council discussions.
When Council's position has been determined that is what I will come forth with.
I may add a thought or 2 but while I am a member of Council what is presented needs to be the democratically chosen position of Council.
I've learned my lesson about that.
There are certain individuals currently on Council that seem to relish speaking out and making it appear that they are the only ones supporting citizens or causes when it's not the case.
This grandstanding and blindsiding is done by this person to get attention and is inappropriate.
This was discussed and agreed by Council that the position we present publicly will be that of the majority of Council. Even if we don't personally agree with it.
So you'll just have to wait.
Occasionally I mention something about fracking on Twitter or retweet something from someone else that has a flavour that I agree with but I won't actually come out and speak my position.