2020-08-26

Bridgewater tackles Dominion Street weed woes

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>A screengrab of one of the images provided to the town by Frank Dunham.</p>

Bridgewater has pledged more contact and consultation with private property owners when it comes to future landscaping work near public streets after town-authorized projects are finished.

Town Council's informal agreement on setting a better policy direction comes after Dominion Street resident Frank Dunham called on officials to fix an ongoing problem with his and other properties in his neighbourhood.

There was sodding established several years ago near Dominion Street curb - between Forest Hill Road and Dawson Street - after town completed some work in the area, Dunham indicated in correspondence to the town.

Weeds "in large numbers" and in varieties "never seen in the area before" starting growing soon after the sodding was finished, causing problems for residents, including him, Dunham said. He provided the council images of the vegetation near his home.

"While we didn't have a great lawn, it was a grassy lawn as can be seen in the photographs, beyond the weedy areas," he said. "The areas sodded by the town are pretty much weed-filled. This mess was not caused by neglect on the part of the property owners."

One property owner assumed personal expense to replace the sodding, Dunham added. "The other property owners1have spoken with have been trying to correct the problem themselves, with limited results. For some reason mine and an immediate neighbour's property seem to have been the worst affected."

There is a definite line differentiating where the town did its work, Councillor Michael Graves commented. "It's like San Andreas Fault; it's very visible."

While there is a combination of soil, sod and seed ordinarily added by contractors after such work, the engineering department said property owners are encouraged to maintain grounds leading to the curb.

Councillor Bill McInnis agreed it's a unique situation. However, he maintained it's not incumbent on the town to fix the problem. Other civic politicians took an alternative, yet cautious, position.

"When we do construction work and we sod or seed, we're not going past every single day to make sure that someone is also taking care of that [and] I'm not suggesting Mr. Dunham and his neighbours didn't take care of that," Mayor David Mitchell said. "But I'm very aware of the door we might be opening and the precedent we might set."

As a one-off compromise, staff was directed to reach out to Dunham to try and find a cost-effective solution to the issue.

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