Summerville resident frustrated over highway safety hazard

Nick Moase
Published on July 12, 2014

June Lohnes-Davis is frustrated with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal over the lack of visibility from her driveway due to a neighbour's garden. TIR cleared some vegetation since this photo was taken but Lohnes-Davis says it still a safety issue.

A Summerville woman says it’s not safe to drive out of her driveway.

June Lohnes-Lohnes-Davis has been frustrated with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) for almost eight years. That’s when her neighbour received a permit from the department to expand their garden closer to the road. Lohnes-Davis says right away the visibility coming out of her driveway was reduced to unsafe levels.

Lohnes-Davis owns a small seasonal business, Summerville Beach Retreat Chalets, and says the visibility has impacted her business. Guests have complained, and she says their sign is now hidden and difficult to spot from the road.

With the general downturn in tourism already affecting her, she says, "I don't need anything else to hurt (my business)."

Lohnes-Davis took her complaint to the TIR. Late last year, she received a response saying that they had looked into the matter and recommended removing the vegetation.

 However, in May, she found out her business sign, mailbox and civic number also had to be moved.

"That was a shock to us."

Lohnes-Davis says she had no other indication there was a problem before then. Canada Post had inspected the mailbox beforehand and deemed it safe. Lohnes-Davis can't understand why it would be a problem now.

"They didn't give us the decency of saying 'this is why it is being removed'," she says.

In June, the signs were removed and placed at the end of the driveway, on another neigbour's property.

Lohnes-Davis says TIR did some work on the neighbour's property, but she says not enough was done to make it safe.

The province, however, deems the issue closed. Robyn Homans, TIR area manager for Lunenburg and Queens, says they asked Lohnes-Davis’s neighbour to remove all vegetation over three feet high within the sightline. They also asked Lohnes-Davis to remove her sign and mailbox from the sightline as well.

Homans says the department verified the vegetation had been removed to their satisfaction.

Sightlines are normally checked by how far away an approaching vehicle can see a car in a driveway. Homans says a survey engineer verified the sightlines.

"We also then checked the safety of her driveway by putting both a car and a truck in her driveway to check her visibility, which is more than adequate," says Homans. "That's not something we normally do."

TIR also marked out a location where they could put their mailbox, says Homans.

There are trees further back, which remain in the right of way, but not within the sightline, says Homans. The trees are part of a property dispute, so the department is staying out of the issue.

As for their sign, Homans says Lohnes-Davis will have to apply for a permit to put it up again.