`When the budget comes out, we’re left out of it`

Markland, a small community outside Whitbourne, has one of the worst roads in Atlantic Canada.

Jessie Dobbin

Markland Road is peppered with gaping potholes and patches that have begun to be chipped away by the harsh winters and local traffic.

Residents have known for years that their road is one of the worst on the island, but they made the national list in 2012 and Markland’s only road was named one of the worst in Atlantic Canada.

Many people in the community think Markland Road is the responsibility of the Whitbourne town council and even Whitbourne citizens have complained about the horrid condition of Markland Road to their town council. But Markland, in fact, is the responsibility of the province.

People in Markland have been trying to get attention from the provincial government to fix their roads for years, but no major improvements have yet been made. Heather Walker has lived in Markland for seven years, and says she has seen little work done on the road.

“All I’ve ever seen them do is patching,” Walker said. “Markland is the result of patching.”

Markland resident, Heather Walker, has lived in Markland for the past seven years. She’s frustrated by the lack of road repairs. Jessie Dobbin/Kicker

The current chairwoman for Markland, Tonya Somerton, says she has written to former and current MHAs for the past four years to get work done on the road.

“They say they’re going to look into it, but when the budget comes out, we’re left out of it,” Somerton said.

Somerton also says the community of Markland has sent a petition to the government. There was no response.

As of early February, there has been construction on Markland road, clearing away trees and bushes from the side of the road. People in both Markland and Whitbourne are hopeful this is the first stage of paving the way for their new road – rumoured to be coming in the summer of 2017.

Somerton denied this rumour. She says this is just brush clearing so drivers can see and avoid moose.

Provincial Transportation minister Al Hawkins could not be reached for comment.

Gene Gilbert, a Whitbourne mechanic, says the rough road in Markland can blow out struts and cause rim or tire damage, and none of those repairs are cheap to make.

“A single rim can cost anywhere from $60 to $120,” Gilbert said. “If you spoil your tire, that’s another $105 to $250 depending on the kind of tire, because they have to match up.”