2019-02-06

Ex-MLA who owns often-struck Bridgewater building seeks town’s help

by Keith Corcoran

Civic politicians in Bridgewater directed town staff to produce a report and recommendation dealing with a request from a former MLA who suggests the installation of steel posts in front of his commercial King Street property would stop vehicles from smashing into his building.

Gary Ramey, who served one term as Lunenburg West MLA between 2009 and 2013, owns Riverside Place, located at the corner of King Street and Dominion Street. He also raised the idea of converting a section of Dominion Street to one-way traffic, a suggestion he figures would solve the matter.

"Such a move would solve the immediate problem and could well prevent death or injury," Ramey said in correspondence to town council.

The building, situated between the King Street Court park and north parkade, has been struck by vehicles losing control while travelling down the Dominion Street hill. It's happened six times in a 30-year span, he said.

Ramey is amazed no one crossing the street, nor anyone working or doing business at his building, has been killed or seriously hurt. "I believe it is only a matter of time until this happens, and I never want that day to arrive."

He claims requests for action from the town haven't yielded a response, but Bridgewater Deputy Mayor Andrew Tanner told a January 28 council meeting officials have addressed the matter.

"There has been action in the past on his requests," Tanner said, "perhaps not the action that Mr. Ramey would have liked to have seen."

The suggestion of bollards on the west side of the King Street sidewalk in front of the building was made in 2014, Ramey said. He said the posts would provide a safety block for pedestrians on the sidewalk and those entering and leaving the property. It won't, however, "protect innocent citizens driving by on King or who may be in the crosswalk between King and Dominion."

Ramey also pointed out "at a later date, I will be seeking some form of financial compensation from the town for my considerable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by historical lack of action on this issue."

He estimates he's been out $3,000 each time the building's damaged because the offender's insurance doesn't cover the full cost of repairs.

"Thus, I have spent about $18,000 worth of my money, repairing damages to this building over the past 30 years not caused in any way by me. This cannot possibly continue," he added.

"I need to know what is going to be done, if anything, and as soon as possible, so that barring lack of action by the town, I can consider next steps."

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