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City silent on Seymour St. snowplow situation

Not only is the city not commenting on the accident, it refuses to say why it won't comment.
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Like an old episode of "Get Smart", a cone of silence has descended on City Hall regarding this week's event where a snowplow was heavily damaged after striking a municipal manhole cover.

See: Snow plow loses battle with manhole cover

"We will not be commenting any further on this at this time," Communications Officer Jaclyn Bucik told BayToday Wednesday.

Not only is the city not commenting on the accident, it refuses to say why it won't comment.

Even the Mayor isn't talking.

A new $250,000 plow, contracted by the MTO was on duty Sunday evening when it hit a raised city manhole cover on Seymour St. "The unit was plowing a turn lane from the Highway 11/17 North Bay Bypass onto Seymour Street when it struck a protruding municipal manhole cover on Seymour Street," MTO spokesman Gordan Rennie said. 

It was so extensively damaged, it may be a write-off. The driver was uninjured.

Now, a businessman from Prince Edward Island has come forth with something he believes can prevent further accidents like this.

Nathan Kember. the President of PaulDavis has invented what he calls a "floating manhole cover."
 
"We have three of them installed right now in P.E.I. and they work great," Kember told us in a phone interview. "It has a grade ring that is buried in the pavement so when the frost goes out it carries the cover up, and the cover is just floating...a ring inside a ring like an expansion joint and it's made to move. It's very simple.
 
"The traditional manhole cover is not made to move. The frost gets in between the gaps and pushes the cover out. When it does move, it doesn't come back down the right way."
 
See a demo here.
 
Kember says he's willing to help the city see if his invention can prevent further accidents like the one that destroyed the plow.
 
"I have one sitting here in our warehouse which I could ship up to do a test. We know the thing works. We can explain how and give them a trial run."
 
The offer couldn't come at a better time for the city. The whole Seymour St./Highway 17-11 intersection is scheduled to be completely rebuilt.
 
North Bay is likely afraid of a lawsuit over the snowplow accident.
 
"There was a woman who wrecked her car on a manhole cover here in the City of Charlottetown last year," said Kember. "She was a single mom and had to write her car off. The city said 'if we cover her we have about 200 files of lawsuits that we would have to come good for'. It's crazy."


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Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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