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The limits of private property - pray you never run into them. An overpass is being built beside Kelly Melanson's Springhill Junction home. Her front yard has basically been cut in half. Her driveway used to run downhill from the house. Now it runs uphill. Plants visibly vibrated in the house as the machines did their work. When she expressed concerns to the Department of Transportation, she received an email basically saying: "Hire an expert to prove there's a problem, then we'll talk."

The province is likely well within its legal rights. You don't own the front part of your yard. Public land extends from the centre line of the road well onto the undeveloped ground you thought was your lawn. Unless the government wants a lawsuit on its hands, surveyors were probably very careful to make sure the grass they churned into dirt wasn't owned by Melanson.

But what about further impositions? The homeowner said she's worried her property will no longer drain properly in spring thaws. It was that concern that got her the response from the department: 'There's a problem? Says who?'

Then there are the minor inconveniences, like noise pollution and belongings rattling where they stand as vehicles lumber by. The point isn't the province doesn't have the right to do it, it's that it shouldn't have the right to do it in a cavalier fashion.

Perhaps the province offered to buy her property, and perhaps she refused. Even if that were the case, the whole thing smacks of big government stomping on the little guy.

The department was asked to comment on the matter for this editorial. A spokesperson said they've been in communication with Melanson since early 2011, and the site they picked, which is provincial land, allowed them to keep the existing bridge open during construction of the new one.

"Department staff will study the increased slope of Ms. Melanson's driveway to see what can be done to alleviate her concerns," the spokesperson said.

Organizations: Department of Transportation

Geographic location: Springhill Junction

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  • kevin
    May 10, 2012 - 11:06

    is this perhaps a case of greed backfiring ? I wonder what the facts are ?