GREENFIELD - When Blain Ling's driveway culvert got washed out during last September's major flooding in Colchester County, he was initially told it would be fixed in a week's time.
When that didn't happen, the Greenfield resident said he waited a bit and then contacted the same Department of Transportation official he had spoken to before. During that conversation, Ling said he was informed his driveway would definitely be repaired before the road construction season ended on Dec. 21.
That date also came and went with no change to the situation and by that point, Ling said, his frustration had reached a boiling point.
"So I called him back again after that. I said, ‘I guess your word's no good ...' He said, ‘Oh, we're going to get it done.' He said, ‘You've got two driveways, you got access to your house, so one is accessible."'
Now, after more than six months of not being able to use his driveway, Ling said he has had enough.
"I feel I've got to put pressure on somebody," he said, of his reason for speaking with the Truro Daily News. "It's got to be done, I do pay my taxes and I've been here 38 years and ... it just seems like they're not doing their job."
As far as not having the culvert repaired because he has another driveway that provides access to his house, Ling does not accept that as a plausible reason for such a lengthy delay.
"I've got two building lots here. And like I told him, I expect them to maintain both driveways because it's two separate building lots because I'm paying taxes on two of them and they're both approved building lots. So the ball's in their court now."
That perspective is also shared by Lloyd Gibbs, the Colchester County councillor for the Greenfield area.
Gibbs said he too contacted several transportation officials, including the individual Ling had dealt with, along with area manager James Webster and district manager Barbara Baillie.
He said both officials offered assurances that Ling's driveway would be repaired before winter set in.
"It's neglect over the last half a year here," Gibbs said. "It's shameful that they would say things and promise things to a taxpayer like that and then just go back on their word."
The issue is compounded by the fact Ling's upper driveway has been completely blocked by erosion from a nearby brook, which causes an ice buildup to form over that driveway, as well as along the edge of road.
"But the most maddening thing," Gibbs said, is that the department has done other excavation in the area on both sides of Ling's property and he feels that work could also have been done in short order.
And looking around at other culverts that are in disrepair along with repair efforts that he views as half measures, Gibbs said he has real concerns at how the department is spending taxpayer money.
"It seems were spending good money after bad," he said. "Our department of transportation, the provincial government, has gone from being proactive on highways to reactive. And now they are negligent."
As one who is responsible for overseeing road work in the area and who must view things from a larger perspective, however, Webster takes a different view of Ling's situation.
"Well, as you know we had a lot of storm damage last fall, so we were trying to do the worst first. And not only were we doing worst first but we were also making sure that everybody had access to their house," Webster said.
While acknowledging that Ling's driveway "is in terrible condition and it can't be used," Webster said, "because he does have another driveway to use at the moment, we're just going to do it where it is more fiscally responsible for the department to do so.
"Right now, we're dealing with frozen ground and it's very difficult to do so and it would ensure that we would have to come back to address any deficiencies because we wouldn't be able to do a very good job," he said.
"But he (Ling) is the top priority for spring."