Vineland resident and father Aaron Morrow became so upset by the condition of a central Vineland intersection, that he decided to do something about it.
He posted pictures and a plea to Facebook, calling out to Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton and Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff in an effort to get help with the issue.
“Please help our poor downtown Vineland. The weeds and garbage are too high at the intersection of King and Victoria. I fear for my 12-year-old daughter’s safety to simply ride her bike on the only sidewalk that leads to the intersection from the east,” he said in a plea posted to a well-known community Facebook page called the Grimsby/Lincoln/West Lincoln Community Watch.
The crossing at the Vineland intersection at Victoria Ave. and King St. is covered by weeds and garbage and is a hazard to cross. And the area, in general, is poorly maintained, including an old “Welcome to Vineland” that is in disrepair. An empty lot site of an old gas station is overgrown and an eyesore.
Local politicians were quick to respond, including messages from Lincoln Ward 4 councillor Lynn Timmers and Regional Councillor Rob Foster and as well as a message from MPP Oosteroff.
“I have asked staff to clean it up and get the region out there also. As for the private landowners and businesses I’d encourage them also to show some pride and love to our community,” said Timmers posting a response to Morrow’s message.
Oosterhoff also responded on the post. “I will be reaching out to the Regional councillor for the area to see how we can work together on this! Grew up in Vineland and understand the concern!”
Both King Street and Regional Route 8 is Niagara Region’s responsibility.
Regional Councillor Rob Foster responding to Timmers’ post wrote: “Lynn Timmers the major road reconstruction is coming. Let me know if you need me to advocate with Region but Town is first-line re: sidewalks and curbing — let Dave (Warden) and the pw (public works) team review.”
Timmers acknowledged the issues pointed out by Morrow. She told Niagara Info that the concerns about Vineland need for upgrades are “not new. Improvements (in the area) have been in works for a long time,” she said.
She pointed to park improvements in the area. She also said local Vineland business people in the area have been working to upgrade the storefronts.
She also said the town and the Region are working together on a project for major improvements in Vineland 2022. She wrote in a post under Morrow’s initial plea: “The work was always scheduled to start in 2022 through to 2023. It is a regional project, but I get it. We have received an update from the region, they’ve confirmed as of now timeline is 2022 to start works, relocates, utilities, and finish construction in 2023. There will be brand new sidewalks on both sides of Victoria. All of council continues to prioritize this work and will advocate in the meantime to get it done.”
Morrow subsequently received an email from Lincoln’s Chief Administrative Officer Mike Kirkopoulos, that he shared with Niagara Info.
Kirkopoulos wrote: “Dave Warden with our Parks and Operations group in Community Services, is looking after the weeds and grass highlighted in the photos, thanks for taking those and posting. Dave Graham is our Public Works director, and will be liaising with the Region, as these are regional roads, but will definitely make sure the locations are safe and sidewalk issues addressed.”
Kirkopoulos added: “As you may know, that entire intersection including the roads and sidewalks on all four sides is scheduled to get upgraded beginning with the utility and servicing re-locates in 2022 and total reconstruction in 2023. We are staying on the region and holding their feet to the fire on this project. Paul, is and will be liaising with Imperial Oil, that owns that private property with overgrown grass.”
Morrow said he hasn’t yet responded to Kirkopoulos: It “seemed like an empty promise two years away… He’s blaming the region. The region is saying it is the town. I don’t have a lot of faith anything can get done, only time will tell,” Morrow said.
Niagara Info reached out to Kirkopoulos for clarification on the timing of the cleanup. “We will get to the cosmetic cleanup today and in the next few days,” he said. “I will take a drive down to see the progress today. And we will do what we can…the debris is not acceptable in this case. And Aaron’s comments around his daughter safety is important to us.”