Hartland Town Council: Solutions for dangerous corner discussed; acquired property to extend street

by | Jun 18, 2024

Town asked to address corner that has been site of fatal crashes

Residents with homes on a corner of the Rockland Road that has seen multiple fatal crashes are asking the town to make the road safer for their families.

Town residents Andrew Smith and Alyssa Wiseman addressed town council with their concerns during the Tuesday, June 11 meeting. They also shared a letter from Wiseman’s mother, Jackalyn Smith. In the letter, Jackalyn called the corner “a life-threatening hazard that exists within Hartland town limits.”

“This hazard has taken the lives of at least two people in recent years and has contributed to life-altering paralyses of another,” said Jackalyn. “This segment of road I refer to is a sharp corner where Bradley Road meets Rockland Road. Many near misses occur at this junction on a regular basis.”

Jackalyn shared that on the morning of May 24, her son and his three children were nearly broadsided when a vehicle attempted to pass them on the turn while they were making a left turn into their driveway. A week later, on May 31, a similar scenario occurred when her daughter, Wiseman, made the same left turn with three children in the vehicle.

“It seems that the long stretch of road from the corner into town promotes drivers to accelerate and drive erratically,” said Jackalyn. “Nearly five years ago a speeding driver failed to maneuver the turn and sailed across my daughter’s driveway, taking out several shrubs as he lost control of his vehicle… those shrubs sat within close proximity to where my five-year-old grandson now stands as he waits for his school bus.”

She added that 16 children live in the homes along the roadway. Jackalyn suggested the town consider painting a double solid line on the road at the turn, reducing the speed limit, and prohibiting passing signage in both directions approaching the turn.

Coun. Sam Walton said he drives on the road every day, and another issue he sees is that the town only plows to the former town limit, with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) responsible for plowing the section with the turn.

“You are going from good roads in the wintertime, to automatically bad roads,” said Walton. “I am 100 per cent behind you when you say something needs to be done.”

Hartland CAO Rob Webber told the River Valley Sun that the town will assess the turn and discuss options with DTI and the town planner.

He clarified that the corner is within modern town limits, but road maintenance is done by the former town limits, and DTI covers that area.

Town to acquire property to extend public street

Hartland council approved a motion to acquire two pieces of property from the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development (DNRED) to allow the extension of Brighton Street as a public street.

The town has been leasing the property and taking care of maintenance.

During a presentation to council, Derrah said the town has been paying about $790 per year in provincial property tax on the leased property.

“Converted to a public street there would be no property tax levied on it,” said Derrah. “The surveyor has provided a subdivision plan to DNRED who has approved it. The Western New Brunswick Service Commission have advised they have no concerns about converting it to a public street but recommend public works delineate parking spaces along the side and review signage.”

Hartland fire protection by-law amended to include false alarm fines

The town council has amended the fire protection and prevention by-law to enforce fines for false alarms.

There will now be a $100 fine for a first offence, which can be waived at the fire chief’s discretion. For repeat offenders, there will be a $250 fine for a second offence, a $500 fine for a third offence, and a $1,000 fine for a fourth offence.

Coun. Mike Walton, who also serves as the town’s fire chief, told council false alarms “are definitely a big cost to the community.” He added that every false alarm cost the town $1,000 to $1,500 in the past.

“People don’t think about that cost until it’s done… when I explain to them there could be an expense to that, there are some eyes opened,” said Walton. “Now they are trying to think of ways to do something different in limiting those problems.”

Town to get new tagline and logo

The town of Hartland will soon have a new logo to go with the tagline “We’ve got you covered.”

Hartland Communications and Development Specialist Michelle Derrah reviewed the choices from marketing firm WebSolutions.ca, and councillors ultimately agreed on a tagline and logo.

Derrah said the tagline “is something we can actively use on social media posts to reinforce the tagline.

Webber said the logo and tagline will be used on the town website, signage, correspondence, and other items. Government grants will cover the majority of the cost.

He stressed the tagline isn’t just a play on the covered bridge but also incorporates all of the things offered within the town, including schools, health care, affordable housing, jobs, and recreation.

“When we say we’ve got you covered, it isn’t just a funny little play on the covered bridge, but rather it represents the fact all the essential things you want to live a good life are here in Hartland and it’s a good place to set up shop, whether you are a business or a person looking for a home and a place to live.”

Council approves grant awards for Hartland Community School’s 2024 grad class

Every Hartland Community School high school graduate will receive at least $50 when they receive their diploma this month.

Hartland Mayor Tracey DeMerchant presented a plan for $4,200 in bursaries for this year’s graduates.

DeMerchant told the council last year saw $2,000 in awards going to three graduates in the amount of $1,000, $600 and $400, respectively.

The mayor suggested keeping the town’s leadership award at $1000 but splitting the other two big prizes evenly at $500 and giving $50 each to the remaining graduates.

Council approves municipal grant award for Covered Bridge events

A group that organizes events at the world’s longest covered bridge will receive a $5,000 financial boost from the town.

The council approved a motion for the $5,000 grant following an update from town treasurer Tina Pelkey.

Pelkey noted the grant was budgeted by the town in 2023.

“The reason they are asking for support is for fireworks, advertising and sound,” said Pelkey. “They showed us their budget for last year where they spent everything they earned primarily in infrastructure and advertising.”

After the motion was approved, Councilor Walton noted that the group receives $7,500 in funds from three companies to help with the cost of fireworks. One of these groups is his own business, Walton Construction, while the other two are Valley Equipment and Craig’s Manufacturing.

Coun. Wayne Britton suggested sending a letter from the town thanking the businesses.

FOREST FIRE INDEX – click image for current status

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