Former North Algona Wilbeforce Mayor Harold Weckworth was T-boned in the hamlet of Golden Lake at an intersection which has become quite dangerous.

Golden Lake – A week after his truck was T-boned at the increasingly busy and dangerous intersection in the village centre, Harold Weckworth was sore but back on the job, delivering mail and driving the roads he knows so well, albeit a bit more warily.

“I can still say I am really lucky,” he said. “I work at the post office and you hear the horns blowing and people shouting all the time there. Someone is going to get killed.”

It could be said few know that intersection as well as he does. He grew up on the family farm on Island View Drive, now lives on the farm a short stretch down the road from the hamlet of Golden Lake on Highway 60, was the mayor of the township for over a decade and has delivered the mail out of the Golden Lake Post Office for most of his adult life. So, he is very knowledgeable about the intersection.

Ironically, he made his views known recently when an open house discussing the possibilities of improvements at the intersection of Highway 60, Lake Dore Road and Kokomis Road was held in June. Perhaps if changes had been made, he would not have been T-boned by a vehicle coming across the highway from Kokomis Road.

“I don’t see why the MTO is dragging their asses on this,” he said. “They need to get on it right away. The traffic is busy and we need a light there right away.”

The intersection has become increasingly dangerous.

Following the August 7th collision, he took a week off from his mail route and was back driving on Monday although he had “a few bruises and sore spots” following the collision.

“I had some big bumps on my knees. They are a bit better now,” he said.

The intersection is a tricky one at the best of times and with the added congestion in recent years, it has become very hazardous. Not a true cross, it is more of an X and the visibility is very poor for vehicles coming out from either Kokomis Road and Pikwakanagan or the Lake Dore Road and the hamlet of Golden Lake. As a result, some vehicles have to inch out a bit to see and there are always the vehicles that seem to not stop at all.

Added to the chaos is the tremendous increase in traffic at the intersection. While at one time – maybe seven or eight years ago – the hamlet was pretty quiet, now it is a bustling corner with people coming on and off the First Nation community of Pikwakanagan where they purchase cheap gas, cigarettes and cannabis. With three large gas stations, multiple smoke shops and about 12 cannabis shops, it is a busy place and the way most people come into the First Nation is through the hamlet of Golden Lake. On a long weekend in summer when cottage traffic is added on to this, as well as people just passing through on the provincial highway, it can be a recipe for disaster.

The collision occurred on a long-weekend Saturday. Mr. Weckworth was returning from his coffee and donut gathering with “some of the guys” he enjoys in Eganville. It was all pretty routine; it was about 10 a.m. when he was nearing the intersection.

“Mr. (Robert) Lisk was coming up from the First Nation,” he said. “He stopped for a look and then he took off and hit the front driver corner of my truck. The whole corner was pushed in.”

The impact was strong enough to send Mr. Weckworth’ s vehicle into another vehicle which was stopped in the direction coming from Lake Dore.

“That was a vehicle from Lake Dore, Paul Liley.  They are both on my mail route,” he said. .

“It was the busiest weekend of the year,” he said.

Political Action

Although soft spoken, he is a straight talker and a seasoned politician. He served as mayor for 14 years in North Algona Wilberforce Township (NAW), which includes the hamlet of Golden Lake. He noted he was concerned enough about the intersection to attend the open house meeting and discuss the issue with the consultants and MTO about six weeks ago. Now he is a living example of what can happen there. 

“I was at the meeting with the MTO and said ‘you have to take control of that corner’,” he said. “I suggested putting in lights.”

He was told lights were not feasible because there would need to be a turn lane and there is no room for that. He doesn’t think that is true.

“There isn’t a turn lane there now,” he noted.

The former politician said he would like to see some political action on this, hoping NAW, the County of Renfrew, the province (as represented by MTO) and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (AOPFN) get together and make sure something is done.

“I suggested the four parties put some firefighters there or police officers to control traffic,” he said. “Who controlled the traffic after the accident? The firemen. They are capable and well trained.”

Mr. Weckworth said he hopes this will spur the MTO to action and the long-time resident said having a light at the intersection makes the most sense to him.

“The traffic is busy. We need a light now,” he said.

The accident has shaken him somewhat, but not enough that he is hesitant to get behind the wheel.

“I am a bit nervous,” he admitted. “You got to take control of that intersection.”

It does make him aware of how close he came to a serious catastrophe and this is something he would not want to happen to anyone else travelling through that busy intersection.

Although he was checked by paramedics at the scene and was fine, he said the swelling in his knee increased as the day went on so he went to the hospital to get checked out.
“The lump on my right knee got very big and then I also had a lump on my left knee,” he said.

And there is the issue of his truck, which he said he kept in good shape and he was not ready to get rid of at this point.
“I have not heard from the adjuster yet,” he said. “It was a 2000, but it was a solid vehicle.”

While there were cameras at the intersection at the time of the collision, they have been removed. Perhaps they will be used for further evidence by the consultants and MTO of the need for something to be done at the intersection, he mused.

“I still think the four parties should partner and do something there with a policeman or fireman or something,” he said. “Someone is going to get killed.

“The MTO is always stressing safety,” Mr. Weckworth added. “This is about our safety.”