The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville agreed to consult with farmers on road repair schedules
By Diego Flammini
An Eastern Ontario community will give local farmers the chance to provide input on roadwork projects.
The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville passed a motion Thursday to create a Road Transportation Infrastructure Farm Policy. The legislation will help ensure that infrastructure work doesn’t impede farmers’ ability to operate.
Producers expressed their concerns with municipal road work during planting and harvest time, said Doug Malanka, a member of the county council who introduced the motion. He is also the mayor of Augusta Township.
“I’d receive comments that roads are very important for farm vehicles but perhaps we don’t consider that,” he told Farms.com. “A circumstance came up this year where we had to replace a culvert and a farmer mentioned to me that (the Counties) should widen the guard rails while the work gets done so farm equipment has enough room to get by and get to the fields.
“Going forward, farmers will be able to have an input on broad construction projects. In the future, we might expand that when we start to talk about detailed work on particular roads.”
The next step in the process is creating a system where the municipal government can receive farmer feedback on future construction projects.
An efficient system is crucial to ensure farmers that are being heard and that government has ample opportunity to respond, Malanka said.
“It has to be easy for farmers to give input, but also for the County to receive it,” he said. “The information needs to flow easily or else this system won’t work.”
Producers are happy with the municipal government’s decision to include them in construction consultations.
Counties haven’t always completed roadwork projects with farm traffic in mind, said Kim Sytsma, president of the Leeds Federation of Agriculture.
“With many municipalities installing roundabouts, some of them have been way too small to accommodate today’s farm equipment,” she told Farms.com. “It’s a good thing that we will be involved in the process so farmers can operate equipment safely on roads that are built to handle them.”