Residents of a southeastern New Brunswick cottage community are demanding the province patch up potholes on the private road into the area as they search for a long-term solution.
Belliveau Beach Road in Pointe-du-Chêne, near Shediac, leads through a residential area to popular Parlee Beach. Community members say while the road has always been private, the province maintained it until suddenly stopping this year.
Fred Plante, who lives in the community, said drivers navigating around the potholes are narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic.
“You’ll be off to the side trying to get around a pothole and they’ll blow past you. It’s very dangerous,” he said.
Parts of the road are riddled with deep potholes and in other areas the pavement has crumbled. One resident paid out-of-pocket to try to fix some damage by filling it in with gravel, but that quickly washed out after a rainstorm.
‘A safety issue’
Odette Babineau, chair of the local service district advisory committee, said she is constantly hearing from frustrated residents who say the road is “an accident waiting to happen.”
“They used to maintain the level of the condition of the road, where it was not a risk to public safety. But right now you can’t sway from the potholes and there’s a lot of children that are going down that street, a lot of bikers, so it’s really a safety issue,” she said.
WATCH / Residents upset over ‘dangerous’ private road
Private roads are common in New Brunswick cottage country and comprise more than half the roads in Pointe-du-Chêne. Residents sometimes chip in to fill in spots with gravel. But residents say people using Belliveau Beach Road to get to Parlee Beach results in more damage to the roadway.
The first family that settled on the land on Pointe-du-Chêne initially developed the area. Then in the late 1920s, they started to sell off parcels of it. The road is now divided among several new landowners, complicating the issue, and it is the only way to access an entire neighbourhood.
The first stretch of road connected to Route 133 is public, but the street becomes private north of a campground. That’s where seasonal cottages and year-round homes spread out onto side streets.
Demands for provincial help
Residents of Pointe-du-Chêne gathered at a community meeting last week to meet with a representative from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Babineau said residents were told the province won’t help.
“People try to fill the potholes but it’s up to a point where we’d be better to have the pavement the province has put down – to strip it – at least we could grade it,” she said.
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure did not make anyone available for an interview and did not respond to questions from CBC News about the road.
Pointe-du-Chêne residents plan to disrupt traffic on nearby Parlee Beach Road on New Brunswick Day to try to pressure the province.
Plante said the decision to stop maintaining the road came unexpectedly — with no notice. He wants the province to help in the short-term.
“Just come patch the road, it’s a two-hour job, fill in the potholes, go away and we’ll continue on with our deliberations about what we need to do in order to come up with a long–term solution,” he said.
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