Circling back on Hwy 26 roundabout at ROMA
Clearview council and staff were at the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference in Toronto from Jan. 19-21 where municipal officials have a chance to rub elbows with provincial bigwigs.
Clearview was granted a delegation with Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney and staff.
“We had a delegation to discuss the recent decision by the MTO to cancel plans for a roundabout at the 27/28 Sideroad and Highway 26, just north of Stayner,” said Clearview Township Mayor Doug Measures.
Clearview was notified last year that traffic lights would be installed at the intersection, instead of the roundabout.
Measures said Clearview was notified in April via a very brief letter received from an MTO staffer, without any explanation.
The intersection is a busy one because 27/28 Sideroad is used to bypass Stayner.
“It’s a busy, busy spot. Putting in a traffic light just brings two sides to a stop all the time,” said Measures.
Measures said he outlined the reasons why the municipality would prefer a roundabout, among them, safety, efficiency, and require less maintenance. Traffic clears the intersection quickly because vehicles never have to stop, but they move through the intersection more slowly. He said the preference is for a two-lane roundabout that has a large enough circumference to accommodate large trucks.
“Traffic volumes are going to continue to increase and in that study it clearly says by 2031 the current highway will have reached its capacity every hour of the day. We recognize we need to keep the traffic moving and bringing in a stoplight on Highway 26 is actually opposite to the objective of keeping traffic moving.
Measures said he also asked if the location of the new casino coming to Wasaga Beach has been factored into the decision, noting that the decision to cancel the roundabout came a couple months before the announcement to locate the casino near the roundabout at Beachwood Road and Mosley Street.
He said that’s only four kilometres from the site of the cancelled roundabout, which will only see an increase in traffic from the casino.
Measures said Clearview had also hoped to meet with Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman about the Rural Economic Development Plan but they didn’t get a meeting. Hardeman did speak about it at one of the sessions though and said there was money coming down the pipe, which was very positively received, said Measures.
Clearview is just now forming an economic development committee, after council supported a proposal by Councillor Thom Paterson.
“There’s a lot of EDC type activity that we could do for small business in this community and I want to continue to do that,” said Measures. “We’re struggling a little with it because there has been such change and so many regulations brought to us. The regional review took a lot of wind out of our sails last year as we were anticipating some changes. Because they didn’t come we didn’t get 10 months worth of work done so we are starting again.”
Measures said he had a chance for a quick chat with other ministers and found great value in the opportunity to network with other municipal representatives, especially those that share common concerns.
The theme of this year’s conference was Rural Ontario: Moving Forward.
“The event, I feel, was really productive for us in Clearview Township and rural Ontario,” he said.
Councillor Connie Leishman grasped an opportunity during a ministers’ forum to ask when municipalities might see some provincial funding to help them meet targets set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, noting that Clearview is contemplating accessibility renovations at all of its publicly owned buildings.
Twitter photo: Clearview delegates met with Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney (centre) at the ROMA conference this past weekend. From left: Councillor John Borderick, Mayor Doug Measures, Councillor Connie Leishman, Deputy director of public works Dan Perrault and MPP Vijay Thanigasalam, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation.