No free sand in Perth-Andover

by | Dec 6, 2022

DTI officials and MLA cite problems at site, but note many communities
offer limited public access to sand

The lack of access to free sand at the Perth-Andover Department of
Transportation and Infrastructure depot in Perth-Andover gathered public
focus last weekend when area resident Joe Gee raised concerns in a
Facebook post.

“In what is thought to be the Retirement Town of the Atlantic, the
Department of Transportation and Infrastructure can’t or won’t supply
public sand to its residents despite the fact that it’s supplied at
every other DTI maintenance garage in neighbouring communities,” Gee
posted on Dec. 4.

Gee added Perth-Andover seniors can still find free sand for their
driveways, but it will require a 30-to-45-minute road trip to fill a
maximum of two pails for personal use.

“This is unacceptable,” he said.

DTI spokesperson Tyler McLean responded to the River Valley Sun, saying
the department doesn’t have a formal policy regarding free sand, but it
is available in several communities.

A few commenters on Gee’s post suggested contractors and others in
Perth-Andover abused the access to sand by taking more than the
allowable limit of two five-gallon pails.

“It probably has something to do with people taking advantage of
others,” noted one commenter. “A few years ago, I was able to get some
here in Perth, but others were going in and taking it by the truckload.
And, of course, charging seniors and others to do their driveways and
walkways.”

McLean and Carleton Victoria MLA, Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries
Minister Margaret Johnson also cited abuse of the system in
Perth-Andover.

Johnson commented on Gee’s post that she would reach out to DTI Minister
Jody Carr. She told the River Valley Sun that the Perth-Andover depot
stopped providing free sand because of public misuse.

“The practice was stopped two years ago due to contractors and members
of the public going directly into the dome taking large quantities of
sand once they depleted the public stockpile,” Johnson said in an email.

McLean, as DTI spokesperson, offered a similar response.

“This location was problematic due to contractors and public entering
the compound and taking sand directly from the dome, which is a safety
concern due to DTI trucks and equipment needing access to the stockpile
for highway maintenance purposes,” he said.

McLean explained many depots, but not all, provide limited amounts of
free sand from locations outside DTI compounds.

“Members of the public can take up to two five-gallon pails of sand at
designated locations outside the compound and can’t use it for
commercial purposes,” he said.

Woodstock-area residents, for example, can access free sand from a site
near the DTI compound just outside town limits on Houlton Road. Large
cement girders block people from backing trucks up to the sand pile.

Johnson explained the public misuse of free-sand policies in
Perth-Andover led to confrontation, raising concern among DTI officials.

“As such, we are hesitant to reinstate this practice due to the
interference with winter operations and safety-related concerns with
people being inside the compound without the proper safety training and
protective equipment,” she said.

Gee hopes someone can find a suitable solution, saying available sand
could deter serious injuries.

“Many folks have argued that the government shouldn’t supply ‘free’ sand
to the public, but we must consider the fact that free sand is certainly
cheaper than hip replacements,” Gee wrote. “Offering public sand helps
alleviate our already overburdened healthcare system.”

For road conditions, click the map

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