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Residents of Wellesley subdivision seek remedies

Residents of a Wellesley subdivision want action from council over a series of ongoing concerns, saying tighter enforcement of township bylaws is needed to improve their quality of life.

A handful of Schweitzer Crescent residents brought their grievances to council Monday night, telling of poor street conditions due to the ongoing nearby construction, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) driving on the street and parking concerns – issues they say are being ignored by the township.

It wasn’t their first appearance before council, as Kim Ruthig attended meetings in 2007 to voice neighbourhood complaints about construction materials littering streets, including Schweitzer Crescent. At one meeting, he brought along a bag full of nails that he had collected from the roads near where he lives.

From that point things began to get better – but not for long.

“Well now they have deteriorated again.”

This time, he brought along a number of neighbours who claim nails from the nearby construction zone have caused them several flat tires on their vehicles.

“When you drive for a number of years with no such occurrences and then you find several nails in your tires in a short period of time, along with development and unclean roads, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine where those nails are coming from,” said Ruthig.

“The conditions of the road are atrocious due to both ongoing trucking in and out of the neighbourhood, coupled with the lack of regular cleaning of those streets by the developer. Visitors have come to our neighbourhood and have actually commented on how terrible the streets are,” he told councillors. “They don’t even want to enter the neighbourhood because of how dirty their cars get just from driving in and driving back out of the subdivision. That’s a terrible image for Wellesley.”

In addition to problems surrounding the road conditions, residents say that ATV usage in the area has become increasingly problematic, with people driving illegally through private lots since March.

“I had some young children that live across the street come to me and ask, ‘What if we are crossing the street and we get hit by one of these ATVs?’” noted Ruthig.

While sympathetic, Coun. Jim Olender noted the township is in something of a “Catch 22” situation, as the land is still private property owned by the developer. Eventually, the roads and some other portions of the subdivision will be turned over to the township, but for now Wellesley has little control over the site.

The ATV problem is a stickler, as police essentially have to catch riders in the act in order to enforce a township-wide prohibition.

Olender said the trespassing is not simply an annoyance to residents, but a safety issue as well. Because the land remains private, it’s not a matter for township bylaw enforcement.

“I realize something has to be done about it. We are very concerned about the safety of the residents, but until that subdivision is complete and turned over to the township, our hands are tied.”

Will McLaughlin, Wellesley’s director of public works, said it is the township’s job to relay concerns from the community to the appropriate parties, and that he intends to write a letter to the developer requesting a more efficient and frequent clean up of Schweitzer Crescent in the future.

Also underway is the posting of signs for the area, reminding ATV riders that there are no unauthorized motor vehicles allowed in the township and that this is enforceable by law.

McLaughlin also noted that although council understands the issues facing the residents regarding the cleanliness of their street, the developers have also faced a number of challenges this year as well.

“It has been a tough year, in all honesty, for the builders too. They just get started working and it’s raining again, so it is not an easy issue to deal with.”

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