Opponents say pump brakes on speed reduction

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Speed reductions on local roads – initiated in response to public complaints – has drawn opposition from another segment of the community.
During a traffic workshop last month council supported reducing the speed limit on portions of Nottawasaga Concession 10 North near Duntroon, Fairgrounds Road, and Riverside Drive/Concession 6 to 60 km/hr. Clearview council is also requesting that the County of Simcoe reduce the speed limit on County Road 9 to 60 km/hr.
This drew the ire of members of the business community and prompted a delegation to council at Monday’s meeting. Paul Van Staveren, Chris Millsap, Gord Zeggil and Judith Crawford did the talking but said they are speaking out on behalf of a larger group of concerned residents and business owners of Clearview Township.
“Many of us have lived here our entire lives and feel a select few are making decisions with little, if any, input from the affected residents. We are representing taxpayers, residents, employees and employers who work, play and reside in our boundaries. This is a precedent-setting decision that we feel is not in your constituents’ best interest,” said Van Staveren, a farmer and owner of Stayner Rental.
The group is calling for public consultation before any changes are made to speed limits.
They are asking council to weigh the economic impact of speed reductions on the rural roads against the preferences of some residents, motorists and cyclists. Their message is that time is money, and having to drive at 60 km/hr on rural roads, in addition to being excruciating, will result in higher costs and will ultimately deter businesses from locating in Clearview.
“Our community has pushed hard to attract new industries. Businesses need to utilize all available routes to supply clients in this community,” said Van Staveren. “Many businesses that include, lumber yards, electricians, plumbers, repair shops, fuel deliveries, couriers and farmers can expect to add hours to their daily routine. A reduction in speed on Fairgrounds Road can add over five minutes for a round trip. If a business makes just six trips a day that is in excess of one half hour per day, two-and-a-half hours per week. Is that fair? As we recover from a pandemic, can our small businesses afford this added expense?”
Chris Millsap, owner of Yard Boys and Georgian Sprinklers, said his crews are constantly running the roads and agreed that although the lost time seems minor, it isn’t. He calculates the change could cost him close to $400 per month per crew. He also observed that while out on the roads there are very few problems, and is looking to the township to present evidence for the justification of speed reductions.
“Every action has a reaction and I feel this reaction is not going to be good,” said Millsap. “It’s actually going to cause more accidents.”
Millsap presented a petition signed by more than 1,000 residents, saying “72 per cent of people on the Fourth and Sixth Line do not want this.”
Custom home builder Gord Zeggil has a shop on County Road 9 and says a speed reduction would have a direct impact on his business, which employs 12 people and sub-trades.
“The result of the decrease in speed will decrease productivity and my losses will be measured in hours not minutes,” said Zeggil.
He said spending money on signs to indicate a lower speed limit is a waste considering expert evidence that shows drivers will resume their normal driving habits when there is no enforcement.
“It is my feeling we, as a community, need good paying local jobs. That makes us stronger,” said Zeggil. “I do not agree with choosing tourism and leisure time activities over that premise is the message we want to send our farming community, local businesses, potential businesses and commuters.”
Judith Crawford, controller at Steer Enterprises, said a good percentage of their 60 employees come from Grey County and this will add to their commute time and possibly deter skilled trades people from taking a job in Clearview.
“It doesn’t really matter what industry business people are serving, they are travelling the roads. The concerns are the same. The impact is the same
Also of concern is that drivers will avoid roads with lower speeds, deterring traffic flow to the urban areas, which may have the unwanted effect of incentivizing drivers to take the long way around, increasing their total travel time and increasing emissions.
They are calling for a public input process to assess options that “reflect the will of the majority,” said Van Staveren.

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