County politicians to meet with Transport Minister on 402-Highway 40 concerns

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Lambton County politicians won’t have to camp out in front of the Minister of Transport’s office.

That was one of the options that was thrown around (tongue in cheek) recently after the county’s request for Minister Steven DelDuca to come to the area and talk about the politicians transportation concerns was turned down. Both Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper and Warwick Mayor Todd Case wanted the minister to see in the issues around winter highway maintenance on the 402, fire response problems and the safety concerns for residents living near Highway 40 which is an industrial route used by Chemical Valley companies.

DelDuca, in a letter to council, said he would be more than willing to meet with the politicians but could not come to Lambton County.

“Maybe we should go to Queen’s Park and camp out at the ministers office,”
said Bradley who was “stunned” by the response.

“If you want to come, I’ll pay for a tank of gas,” quipped Case.

“If we all go down, we’ll be there for a few years,” added St. Clair Mayor Steve Arnold.

But county politicians won’t have to pack their sleeping bags. A day later, aides to DelDuca said he would be willing to meet with the county officials.

The warden, Bradley, Napper and some staff members will travel to Toronto Nov. 19 to talk to the minister about their concerns.

Napper is particularly interested to talk to the minister about winter maintenance. There have been several major accidents on the 402 near the Oil Heritage Road exit including one which killed two people and another which injured five firefighters.

Volunteer firefighter Neil Bain was charged with careless driving in one of those accidents. That charge has been withdrawn. Napper says the MTO wouldn’t talk about the issue while Bain’s case was in court.

“The fireman is no longer the cause of the accident so maybe they should open an investigation to see what did go on,” says Napper. “They thought they’d found their solution – I think we should pursue this strongly.”

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