Thompson Road resident fighting to have road fixed

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Cassandra MacDonald is not one to back down from a cause, especially when she knows it’s a good one. The Thompson Road resident made CBC headlines last week when she publicly complained about the condition of her road, asserting that it needs to be tarred and chipped due the presence of countless large potholes that make driving next to impossible in some sections. 

The condition of Thompson road over the holiday season. Photo by Cassandra MacDonald.
The condition of Thompson road over the holiday season. Photo by Cassandra MacDonald.

Mayor Tony Fraser has provided a different perspective, saying that tarred and chipped roads deliver “false promises” because the large vehicles that use North Dundas roads can easily break down the surface in a year or two. Tar-and-chip is a road surfacing method where fine gravel or asphalt particles are laid on hot tar to create a surface that is grittier and sturdier than a gravel road, but not as high in quality or nearly as high in price as asphalt paving. 

Following the Mayor’s response, Cassandra is still going strong with her petition for the Township to proceed with tar-and-chip for Thompson Road. 

“I do not feel defeated at all, if anything I feel more motivated to keep collecting signatures supporting the cause,” Cassandra told the Times. “I know it is not only Thompson Road residents who are dealing with the issue of their road not being regularly maintained and wanting more effort made from the Township.” 

Noting that the Mayor has stated the Township’s preference for paving over tar-and-chip, Cassandra had an answer for that too: “I would be happy to change the petition from ‘tarred and chipped’ to paving Thompson Road,” she said while also noting that she has done her research on tar-and-chip, and is confident that it can last for many years if done properly and well-maintained. 

North Dundas roads are certainly not unique in their often poor condition. Municipalities on all sides of the border, including Ottawa, have some roads in very poor, often nearly impassable condition. “I absolutely do not believe that this is normal or acceptable,” said Cassandra. “The size of potholes that engulf your vehicle, and rip off parts of the undercarriage is what we have dealt with on numerous occasions. Some residents who use the road prefer to even drive along the surrounding farmers’ fields to avoid the road.” Cassandra further notes that she has spoken to commercial drivers who claim that the condition of Thompson Road makes it difficult to control their vehicle. 

When asked about Council’s previously stated position that road maintenance takes time and is a gradual process, Cassandra responded with a belief that this is simply an excuse. “I understand that paving all the rural roads will take time, but regardless of paving them in a timely manner, all rural roads need to be regularly maintained, adding fresh gravel to them frequently and having properly trained operators running the graders. I am also curious about how the Township chooses which roads to be paved first, as many dead-end roads and roads with very minimal thru-traffic have taken priority ahead of roads with more frequent traffic and residents.”

The reason Cassandra decided to start her petition is because her oldest daughter starts school next year, and Cassandra currently doesn’t feel safe buckled into her own car, let alone having her unbuckled daughter riding in a bus along the extremely bumpy Thompson Road. Cassandra notes that she has talked to countless rural road residents in the Township who feel the same way. 

“Here in the rural community, many of us are aggravated as we all pay residential taxes – and many of us also agricultural taxes – and feel as though we are completely forgotten about,” Cassandra added. “Other than regular garbage and recycling pick up weekly, what else do our taxes go to if we can’t even get regular maintenance done to ensure we have safe roads to travel home on?”

Cassandra’s petition for having Thompson Road tarred and chipped currently has between 200 and 300 signatures. She is collecting signatures in person and would be happy to visit any local residents who wish to add their name – just send her an email to cassandra.macdonald@hotmail.com.

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