parked ploughs leave highways stuck

There’s a problem with the territory’s snowploughs. The ploughs keep falling off the trucks.

There’s a problem with the territory’s snowploughs.

The ploughs keep falling off the trucks.

The pins that hold the ploughs on keep breaking, said Liberal Highways critic Gary McRobb.

“And when it breaks the pin takes off with the velocity of a bullet.

“It could go right through a windshield.”

The problems started last winter.

One driver lost several teeth when the plough flew off and ended up under the vehicle, said McRobb.

The Haines Junction Highways foreman told superiors in the department of Highways and Public Works about the issue.

“But his efforts to change this for public safety were stymied,” said McRobb.

At that point, the foreman could have remained silent.

“But instead, he risked his job and took the issue to the Occupational Health and Safety Board,” he said.

It ordered an independent investigation.

Occupational Health and Safety recommended government park its ploughs until the problem with the pins was fixed.

In spring, the 55 plough trucks were parked.

It will take a mechanic a day per truck to replace the bushings and pins on the ploughs, said McRobb.

But that hasn’t happened, he said.

“It’s stunning the problem still hasn’t been resolved.

“I hope we don’t get a snowfall like the one on Halloween in ‘99, when over a metre of snow fell.”

The trucks can still operate the underbelly ploughs, but those only clear up to 10 centimetres of snow.

On Thursday, McRobb asked Highways and Public Works Minister Archie Lang why the ploughs are still parked.

“I am responsible for the highway portfolio,” said Lang.

“I don’t manage issues inside the department involving equipment — assessment or fixing equipment — I depend on a very capable staff.”

The ploughs are undergoing an improved maintenance check, said Highways communications spokesperson Kira Steen on Friday morning.

The ploughs in question clear highway shoulders, she added. (GK)

The SCAN shuffle

Suspected drugs dealers get shuffled by the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act.

Evicted from one locale, they simply set up shop in another.

“We know they may have ceased (activity) at that location,” said Liberal Justice critic Don Inverarity during Thursday’s question period.

“But if they have moved, where have they gone and are we doing anything about it?”

Inverarity wants to see a tracking system for individuals who have been evicted and have moved to other areas in the city.

“Since it is so new, we don’t have a tracking program set up or reports done,” said Justice Minister Marian Horne.

“We are discouraging the activity in one neighbourhood,” she added.

“They may move to another neighbourhood and then maybe move to another — it ceases.”

There have been instances where the same person has been evicted from more than one place, said Justice spokesperson Chris Beacom on Friday.

“We don’t have the right to ask people where they are going after they’re evicted,” he said.

“Our only tracking system is public complaints.”

Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods is focused on property, not people, he added.

“It’s more concerned with protecting property.” (GK)

How to hide a report

Where is the Children’s Act review?

Where is the Education Reform Project final report? (see, October 19th edition)

Where is the State of Environment report for 2003-04?

It’s like a game of hide and seek.

The government does the hiding, says the opposition.

“I don’t understand why the government has to act in such a secretive manner,” said NDP leader Todd Hardy.

“The only reason the Education Reform Project is out is because it was leaked, or they’d be stonewalling that one as well,” he said.

The State of Environment reports are mandated to be tabled in the legislative assembly at certain periods of time, he added.

“And this is a government that breaks the mandated law that these reports are supposed to be there.”

The three-year annual environment review is also sitting on Premier Dennis Fentie’s desk, said Hardy.

“He doesn’t want to release it.

“We should not be constantly asking for these reports — they should be put out when they’re supposed to be put out.” (GK)