By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 28 2017
Well thank the snow gods for the mercy they have bestowed upon us.
The province is bringing an early end to its contract with Carillion for highway maintenance in its Huntsville region which includes highways 35 and 118 through most of Haliburton County.
We will all be safer for it.
As most readers will be aware Carillion took over in 2012 part of an 11-year contract the multi-national company had signed with the provincial government.
The decline in quality of winter maintenance on the provincial highways in Haliburton County was almost immediately noticeable. Crusty icy centre lines and sidelines; multitudinous ruts; incredibly slow uptake following winter storms; snow cleared so poorly that many parts of Highway 35 were often left without any discernible shoulder leaving residents nowhere to safely pull over.
Areas such as Dover’s Hill outside Haliburton Village were often left in deplorable dangerous condition.
It became quickly evident the company was not concerned about public safety but about doing the bare minimum; completing the fewest number of passes possible using the least amount of salt and sand.
According to the province “the Ministry of Transportation and Carillion have mutually agreed to end the contract for the Huntsville area. This is a mutual decision between the two organizations based on what is best for the province the travelling public and for Carillion.”
Everyone knows that break-ups are rarely mutual; it’s just something the involved parties tell people to spare feelings. But who cares. Who cares why it is happening. It could have something to do with the provincial election coming up in June. Cough. The important thing is that it is happening.
Carillion will be looking after the area for one more winter and hopefully we all survive.
The province has issued a request for proposals for the contract and a new service provider will be put in place in September of 2018.
It would be ideal if the new contact were to function the way the previous one did with the winter maintenance of the highways subcontracted to local companies such as Carnarvon’s Francis Thomas Contracting.
Thomas went far above the minimum standards making sure the highways were you know actually safe to drive on.
Hopefully the province has learned a lesson here; that an 11-year contract is far too long.