Cayuga’s Streetscape Improvement, initiated by Haldimand county in 2015, has turned into a nightmare of awesome proportions.

The project included new sidewalks and curbing, decorative street lighting, enhanced crosswalks, planters etc. It really looked impressive. Until some of the massive levels of truck traffic started getting tangled up in the decorative light banner poles.

The problem came to light recently when downtown bookshop owner, Lorna Walker, heard a loud clang out in the street outside her store. Upon investigatiion, she found a large metal bar on the sidewalk that a truck had just snapped off the decorative light by her store. She picked the pole up and took into a back room at the store.

Telling her story to customer Judy Agis, the pair decided to google ‘street light with banner’ and clicked on the first image that came up. It was a diagram of a streetlight pole like the one beside the store. It informed them that poles that have banner arms must be installed  at least eighteen inches back from the curb.  They measured the distance between the top of the curb and the base of the streetlight pole in front of her store: only nine inches setback.

One thing led to another and they decided to count how many banner arms had been broken off because the County had installed the poles too close to the road. They gave up counting when they reached fifty, but also found one whole traffic light pole and one whole streetlight pole that had been broken right off at the base.

The pair are now questioning how layers and layers of County staff —  many of them on the Sunshine List — six councillors and a mayor, could spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars installing them at only half of the safe distance? The County is exceedingly fortunate no-one has been injured … yet.

Another problem is with the old poles the new lighting was intended to replace. They cannot take out the old poles because someone forgot the town’s cable network is attached to them.

Then there Is the damage caused to the new sidewalk Infrastructure in only two years, either because of poor workmanahip or as a result of trucks veering into the curbing. How many more problems are going to come out of the planning and development dept. when they spend public money without doing the research first.

And this is the environment the county is still bound and determined to put a public library into.

Since there are similar streetscapes all over Haldimand, who knows how many have, or will, suffer the same?