Residents who have been forced out of their homes along Erie Shore Drive have every right to be seriously ticked off – at Mother Nature, and government.
They were essentially booted out of their homes by the municipality on Monday just 10 days after learning there was a structural problem with the dike.
Mortgages, insurance, and the safety of these homes are very much in question, as the municipality will be dumping clay down on the dike, which until this week was topped by the road itself.
As a result, there will be no access to anything but construction vehicles for the immediate future.
High water on Lake Erie, blown ashore during southwesterly winds, has pulverized the homes for several years now, and it’s taken its toll on the roadway behind them as well, to the point the municipality says the road and dike are unstable and that a breach is a real possibility this spring.
Turning the road into a one-way street last fall ultimately did nothing except squander tax dollars.
The effective help these homeowners have received from the municipality, as well as the provincial and federal governments, is negligible. What the municipality seems to be doing is sacrificing these homes to protect about 1,500 acres behind the dike that would flood should there be a serious breach.
It appears varying levels of government are essentially saying, “Sorry about your luck” to the folks who are homeless and could face bankruptcy or serious loss of investment if their homes are destroyed or they lose their mortgages.
One suggestion is to send the money earmarked for a new arena to help these people and purchase the properties.
For taxpayers whose families wouldn’t utilize a new arena in Chatham, we expect the majority would prefer to see the $18-million-plus that the municipality has squirrelled away for its share of the building costs of the new facility to instead funnel that cash to help the property owners on Erie Shore Drive.
The people of Chatham-Kent will often go well above and beyond to help those in need and support causes they deem crucial. It’s time for our governments to do the same.