Weather wreaks havoc on Manitoulin highways

A transport loaded with goods lays on its side in a LaCloche ditch following last week’s storm. The driver ditched the vehicle in order to avoid a head-on collision. photo by Michael Erskine

MANITOULIN—Mother Nature can throw a nasty curve to even the best of drivers and last week’s vicious storm took its toll on drivers.

The Expositor caught up with Rodney (Barney) Deforge, proprietor of Barney’s Bargain Barn in Manitowaning as he surveyed the damage to one of his loads when a transport truck and trailer flipped into the ditch on Highway 6 by LaCloche. The load was not insured.

“No, there was no insurance,” said Mr. Deforge. “We were only able to recover about 20 percent of the load. Even a lot of that 20 percent is likely going to have to be thrown out because of the dirt.”

The accident hasn’t slowed down the flow of goods to Barney’s Bargain Barn much, however. “We have had about three loads come in since,” said Mr. Deforge, who indicated that the same company made those deliveries. “They are a great company,” he said, “we are certainly going to continue to use them.”

Mr. Deforge noted that the load that was lost was a mixed load, with a lot of bottled water in that mix. “There was a lot of water,” he said, and water was a big factor in the loss. “There were a lot of canned goods, unfortunately a lot of it got wet.” As anyone who has had to deal with a wet canned good, the slip of the label can quickly make the contents mystery food.

“The real issue was dirt,” said Mr. Deforge.

Mr. Deforge’s operation moves a lot of goods, particularly accessibly-priced food. “We distributed something in the range of a million pounds of food last year, most of it to Manitoulin and the North Shore,” he said.