SANDFIELD—Sandfield resident Brenda Edington was out for a walk past the “government” docks in Sandfield recently at the outlet of the Manitou River when she observed something out on the ice that set her blood boiling despite the chill of an early spring morning. The bumpers that line the dock to protect it from the ministrations of tethered boats each summer were still in the water and the now-mobile ice was wreaking havoc with them.
“Every fall, the municipality pulls out the bumpers that are attached to heavy stainless steel plates,” said Ms. Edington, “usually by the second week of October.”
This year that didn’t happen.
“Now they are being damaged to the point of no return,” said Ms. Edington. “The ice has grabbed them and is just tearing them apart. That’s it.”
Ms. Edington asserted that she had brought the matter to the attention of the municipality last year. “I questioned this last year, I talked to the public works manager, to Ms. (Ruth) Frawley (Central Manitoulin CAO). They were all ‘yeah, yeah, we’ll get to it’.”
Central Manitoulin Mayor Richard Stephens noted that the municipality is aware of the issue and that he believed that the oversight occurred when the employee who normally handles removing the bumpers fell ill.
“This is not a cheap proposition,” noted Ms. Edington. “Who pays for this?” she asked. “The sign says its owned by Oceans and Fisheries Canada, but managed by the Township of Sandfield.” She noted that the docks are actually owned by the Municipality of Central Manitoulin, having been divested by the federal government several years ago. “Nobody has ever bothered to change the sign,” she said.
Ms. Edington compared the maintenance to the kind of work cottagers and resort lodge owners must complete each season to winterize their buildings. “You drain the water out of your taps,” she said. “You take the time to look after your property. I couldn’t imagine if I managed my camp or lodge like that.”
“I guess it kind of fell through the cracks,” Mayor Stephens said, noting it was unfortunate. “But we will deal with it in the fullness of time.”