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St. Thomas woman fears being 'boxed in' by Volkswagen construction

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A St. Thomas senior fears she is about to be boxed in by progress.

Majorie Nowlan, 87, resides within sight of the future Volkswagen battery plant. But unlike most of the neighbours, her land wasn’t bought out.

South Edgeware Road in St. Thomas always been a busy spot for traffic — but in recent months, construction related to the new battery plant has intensified.

“I had no warning. I had no idea that they were ever going to do what they’ve done in front of the house,” said Nowlan.

And there is more to come. Soon, the land in front of Marjorie's home and her son Bill’s business, will be dug up to lay a sewage pipe for the new plant. When that happens her driveway will be cut off.

“This is not going to be pleasant,” said Marjorie, who utilizes a mobility scooter and a walker. She told CTV News she fears she will be trapped.

Bill says the solutions offered are not acceptable.

“They say, ‘Well, how far can you walk Mrs. Nolan? You could park your car across the road or something. That stuff just burns people!”Marjorie Nowlan's home on South Edgeware Road near the intersection with Highbury Avenue in St. Thomas. May 21, 2024. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

When asked if she was upset her property wasn’t purchased, Marjorie said, “No, I’m not [upset] because they didn’t buy my place. I’m [upset] because they didn’t come and tell me what was going to happen and give me a choice.”

As Majorie’s frustrations with city hall intensifies, Coun. Steve Peters has entered the discussion and said he is trying to find ways to improve accessibility to her home during the construction phase.

A second entrance to the home is one plan on the books. Another is improved communication.Steve Peters is seen on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

“On behalf of the city, I apologize notice was not given in advance. But, now that we are aware of the situation we’re going to continue to work with her and accommodate any of the challenges facing her, hopefully,” said Peters.

Marjorie, Bill and the wildlife tenants of a pond on their property, represent the last stand to progress.

“We are the last two human residents in the whole industrial area of St. Thomas. From Edgeware to Ron McNeil,” said Nowlan. 

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