The OPP presented to the Public Works Committee on road safety, with a focus on speeding. Their emphasis, which were supported by the committee and will be the basis of a report to Council, was increased education.
Education has a role in any community behavior change; particularly important when the information is lacking. For instance, the OPP’s presentation on stunt driving.
A stunt driving conviction has very serious consequences and, as well as the common understanding of street racing and speeding 50K over the limit, includes tire squealing and burnouts, driving with someone in your trunk, and intentionally cutting someone off. Education on the broader actions that are part of stunt driving makes sense because many people do not know.
Education as the focus of a campaign on everyday speeding makes less sense. Most of us know we should not speed. Yet many speed “a little”, just enough to get there a bit faster but not get caught (this does not always work). If this is the speeding we want to stop we need to consider more “hard-copy” solutions.
For a while we had speed bumps on Wheatly Street, and that helped.
Building roads to the desired speed limit, a principle in safe road engineering, could be Township policy. That would mean not straightening a road so it can easily be easily driven at 80 or 90K, when the speed limit is 60.
Leaving parking of both sides of a street, photo radar, flexible in-road bollards, street medians and extra police presence all work, cost money and impact drivers. If we are serious about reducing speeding these are the options we need to look at. Some education is good, but it is not going solve the problem.
The OPP is going bring in a “guess the speed” program. Members of the public will be invited by an OPP officer with a speed gun to guess the speed of a passing car. Besides being fun, this will give us a better idea of what speeding looks like and how prevalent it is.
Hazardous Waste Collection
In the debate on whether to renew the Keely Road hazardous waste depot contract questions were raised on how much the depot is used and whether it is worth money. The contract is to continue the same level of service, four hours twice a month in the winter and 4 hours weekly in the summer at the current rate plus 2%, about $87,000 for 2021.
It became clear in the discussion that the Township does not have good data on who is using the depot. What percent of the population uses the depot? Is it often slow? Are many not properly disposing of their hazardous waste and do we need to increase our diversion rate?
Council approved the contract for two years and asked the staff to collect more data.
COVID Relief Funding: A Proposal
A staff report is coming to Council on Tuesday, March 2 on how to allocate the $250,000 council approved for local COVID relief. With the end of the pandemic is sight, we hope, the proposals are geared to help businesses, families and community groups recover and go forward stronger, as much as just survive.
Support will be provided to three groups:
- Small business support – PPE reimbursement, extending an existing small business e-commerce and social media training targeted to local businesses, and capital funding to help businesses pivot and modernize. While the sums are not large, they could provide thousands to a small business to help them recover from the pandemic.
- Non-profit community group support – funding for new events or to cover added costs for existing activities and help cover operating/fundraising losses.
- Money to provide PPE to families with increased need for the supplies.
The full proposal is on the March 2 Council agenda. It has not been passed and if you have comments that could help improve the program pass them along before Tuesday.
Sydenham Water System Updates
The annual report on the Sydenham water system is being presented to Council on Tuesday, March 2. It is item 5.a) on the agenda and contains information on the quality and amount or water used.
Last year’s planned community consultation on the future of the water system which was delayed due to COVID. It has been rescheduled to take place in the middle of this year.
Finally, work has started on a bulk water filling station attached to the water system.