Charity Visser and her father John stand front of highway construction work going on outside their home. The Vissers say the work is disrupting their lives and ruining the condition of the property they bought 40 years ago. Heather Brimicombe – The News
SUTHERLANDS RIVER – A local family surrounded by highway construction say things have gone from bad to worse.
Faye Visser said the Highway 104 twinning project moved so close to her home Friday that she only had a narrow path to get in and out of her driveway while her water has been contaminated and mail service has been disrupted.
“My nerves are shot from the noise and the (government’s) lack of caring,” she said. “This thing has ruined my life.”
The Visser home is located at the end of Highway 4 and is bordered on three sides by the current 104 Trans-Canada highway twinning that started two years ago in the area.
On Friday morning, excavators, a roller and dump trucks were working to remove the asphalt from Highway 4 and connect a new off ramp to Highway 4 which is located directly in front of the Vissers’ home. As of Friday afternoon, when highway crews stopped working for the long weekend, she said, there was a makeshift driveway in front of their home connecting them to the off-ramp.
“It’s not the guys on the highway doing the work,” she said. “They are trying to accommodate us best they can. We are upset the department of highways can abuse us like this.”
She said there is now a 12-foot drop to the highway in the back of their property that has no fencing and trees that once provided some shelter and privacy are dying. Visser said when the leaves fall off the trees this autumn their home will be surrounded by 21 street lights.
“I’ve had to take pictures off the walls because of the vibrations from all of the work being done around us,” she said. “The dust inside and outside of my house is unreal. They’ve ruined our property. The only people who would buy this five-bedroom house is a family and what family is going to purchase a home with a 12-foot drop in the backyard?”
She said mail service to the home has been disrupted because of the ongoing work and the government now has bottled water delivered to her home since a recent water test showed it has E. coli and coliform.
“They (the government) came down here last Friday and told us they weren’t going to take responsibility for the water, but they were going to have Canadian Springs deliver four large water bottles to us a week and put a filter on our pump.”
She added that she has been told by transportation workers that the roundabout was moved up 200 feet closer to her home than originally planned.
Visser said she has talked to transportation workers and local MLAs about the situation, but she feels of her concerns are falling on deaf ears. Visser said she wrote to Transportation Minister Bill Estabrooks asking for a meeting to discuss the situation, but he responded by saying the province would not be purchasing her home.
“I appreciate that having a highway construction project take place in the immediate vicinity of one’s property can be an annoyance and an inconvenience and I fully understand why someone in your situation might want government to purchase your property. I regret, however, that because this project is of limited duration and is taking place fully on property owned by the province, I am unable to justify such an expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars,” he stated in the letter.Calls to Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal’s communications department were not returned by press time Friday.