Residents and visitors’ need for speed in Dysart et al was a topic of discussions at the Oct. 13 committee of the whole meeting.
There was a request by taxpayers for warning signage on Loon Lake Road, and to lower the speed limit on Wigamog Road. Director of public works, Rob Camelon, said he didn’t know if requests were being made because the municipality has done traffic counts, “but it just feels like the floodgates are opening on people concerned with vehicles travelling perceivably fast on municipal roads.”
Camelon said he had concerns with what was being asked for in the Loon Lake Road area.
“I don’t think there’s a speeding issue there if they’re doing 50 km/h,” he said of the majority of drivers. “What I’m finding now is there is a lot of perceived speeding on some of these roads.”
Camelon said that might have to do with road alignment or brush “but I don’t think it’s something that signage is going to fix.”
He is further worried about setting a precedent creating sign pollution. The Haliburton Lake Cottagers Association and Fort Irwin Residents Association received approval in the summer to post signs in the Fort Irwin area. The association provided the signs, and council the poles and installation.
Mayor Andrea Roberts asked if that could be done in this case.
However, Coun. John Smith said there was no data to prove the Haliburton Lake signs had made a difference and council should adopt a more holistic approach, including community safety zones. Camelon stressed he’s not an advocate of signs.
“If they don’t want to pay attention to the black and white signs saying 50 km/h, they’re probably not going to pay attention to the other ones.”
He added if they approve signs for Loon Lake Road, other requests will pour in.
Coun. Larry Clarke wondered if the township could ascertain where things such as sightlines make it sensible to have signage for safety reasons, versus a community initiative.
Deputy-Mayor Pat Kennedy said it’s people’s neighbours that are speeding and perhaps it’s about education by lake associations and OPP enforcement.
“It’s your neighbour that’s speeding, not Joe Blow from Kokomo driving through to get from one area to another … Perhaps a letter from council to the OPP asking for some presence for the $2.2-million a year we’re giving them to help the speeding on some of our side roads may also be beneficial,” he said.
Coun. Walt McKechnie agreed with lake associations getting the message out that people need to slow down.
When it came to the ask to reduce the speed limit on Wigamog Road, Coun. Nancy Woods-Roberts said it is a busy road, narrow, densely-populated, pedestrians cross the road to access the lake, and there is a school bus using it.
“I think we should reduce the limit on that somewhat if we have the capability,” she said, suggesting at least to 40 km/h.
Camelon pointed out it is a shared road with the Township of Minden Hills so they would have to consult with them.
Kennedy stressed it’s about education there as well, since some people walk three abreast on both sides of the road. Staff were again concerned about setting a precedent.
“If we do Wigamog, why not Wonderland, or Peninsula?” Camelon asked.
Roberts agreed that Camelon should come back to council with a bigger picture report on the issue.
Council received both requests for information only.
McKecknie said at the end of the day, it comes down to common sense.
“You can’t fix stupid. We’re all driving too fast.”