LETTER: Time to put 49 back in the laps of provincial government

Once again our County Mayor, thankfully, raises the plight of County Road 49.

Once again, the Mayor does not lay the blame for the condition of the road at the feet of the former Ontario Conservative Government, led by Mike Harris which downloaded Highway 49 to the County in 1998.

The Mayor needs to demand the Province take back ownership of the road.

Then-Premier Mike Harris had a few transportation decision disasters – downloading Highway 49 to Prince Edward County was one, and another big fiasco was selling our Highway 407 to the private sector- which now has out of control tolls. Neither experiment saved money or helped tax-paying residents.

Now the Mayor suggests we can fix this with the community spending more to fix the road or keep begging the Ontario Government for the funds.

Ottawa residents and the City of Ottawa are taking a different approach. In that area, Ottawa Road 174 and County Road 17 were also downloaded and Ottawa City Council and its MPP are demanding to have the roads taken back by the Province.

Their local MPP, Stephen Blais has put in a Private Members and says: “A generation ago the Conservative government of the day chose to download highways 174 and 17 to the municipalities…while it was a convenient way to alleviate fiscal pressures at Queen’s Park they stuck local property tax payers with the bill…For nearly a quarter century, Highway 174 has been sucking valuable property tax dollars out of the pockets of Ottawa and Orléans residents……these funds could have been spent to address the condition of local roads, improve cycling and pedestrian connections and provide better winter maintenance on residential streets.”

I say ditto with regards to Highway 49 in our County. Our MPP Todd Smith , is a Cabinet Minister in the Ontario Conservative Government. Our Premier once said that Mike Harris’ sale of the Hwy 407 was a bad idea. While MPP Smith is only one voice around the Cabinet Table, surely its time for our Council, like Ottawa’s, to pressure for County Road 49 to once again become Provincial Highway 49 and a responsibility of the Provincial Government.

Then it would be in as good a shape as the Highway 49 running north of us through the Tyendinaga Territory, or well maintained like Highway 33, our Loyalist Parkway.

Enough is Enough, it’s time to fix a past mistake.

Irene Harris