Citizens’ group to raise objections over truck bypass around Fergus

'The absence of communication, consultation and notification to any impacted residents and businesses is unacceptable': group

WELLINGTON COUNTY – A group of concerned citizens is planning to bring their objections about a new Fergus truck bypass to the county.

In a June 29 press release, the Concerned Citizens of Wellington County Road 7 and 17 announced plans for a delegation to the county roads committee to formally oppose truck bypass signage re-routing Highway 6 traffic away from Fergus to Wellington Roads 7 and 17.

“Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the people of Wellington County,” the group states in the release.

“The increase in traffic along this route will impact those who work and live here due to poor sightlines, current high levels of traffic at rush hours and the multiple school zones that this route encompasses.”

Amanda Reid, a spokesperson for the group, said about 30 people attended an organizational meeting on June 22.

While they have not yet formally applied to be a delegation to the roads committee, she said they are aiming for an appearance at the next scheduled meeting on Sept. 14.

The group is planning other actions as well, she said.

“We’re not going to just make a delegation. We’re going to have people write letters of concern, we’re going to have a petition put in place – and that’s just where we’re starting,” she said in a June 29 telephone interview.

Concerned Citizens of Wellington Roads 7 and 17 organizer Amanda Reid, right, addresses the group at an organizational meeting on June 22. Submitted photo

The group also states it opposes the “downloading of risk, cost, and effects to business” from a provincial route to a county route.

The increase in road usage, upkeep and maintenance will cost ratepayers more in terms of increased taxation, the group asserts.

“The provincial route has been in existence for over 100 years and those who choose to work and live along Highway 6 acknowledged the interactions they would have with road users by living in this area, while those that do not choose to live along provincial Highway 6 did not expect to have these issues forced upon them and deserve the chance to object,” the press release states.

The group notes many owners of businesses along the bypass route have indicated “feeling uncomfortable” with exiting or entering the roadways due to the increased traffic levels.

“Studies to determine the impact of re-directed traffic on these businesses have not been completed and should have been prior to any signage put in place,” the citizens group states.

The group also cites an “alarming” lack of planning or consultation with impacted residents.

“The Township of Centre Wellington has failed in having no viable plan in place for population and traffic growth, and by imposing a dedicated bypass around Fergus they have essentially dumped the traffic issue on politically under-represented areas,” the group states.

“The absence of communication, consultation and notification to any impacted residents and businesses is unacceptable.”

The bypass concept was recommended in the Township of Centre Wellington’s first comprehensive Transportation Master Plan (TMP), which was approved by township council on May 27, 2019.

Wellington County was consulted as an advisory stakeholder for the TMP and participated as a technical agency, with county council providing approval on Feb. 27, 2020.

Reid said the Centre Wellington TMP study, “did not include any consultation with, as far as I’m aware, any residents on [Wellington Roads 17 and 7] or Mapleton Township.

Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson confirmed in a June 29 interview the township was never directly notified of the plan by Centre Wellington and he only learned of it through meetings at the county level.

“As the Mayor of Mapleton, I can look at that and say, I understand that I wouldn’t want that many trucks coming through my community, but to put that onto another community without the proper consultation, and to cause what I what I say is a hurt to another community, needs to be looked at,” said Davidson.

“Right now it is a temporary or a non-permanent bypass, but if they want to make it permanent we have to look at a different solution than what is there now.”


Davidson added, “The number of trucks that are taking that route, we don’t know yet. We’ll have to look at that. There is an increase in traffic. We do know that.”

He noted ancillary Mapleton roads are now being used by traffic attempting to avoid the lights at Alma.

Reid said local residents have definitely noticed an increase in traffic since the signs went up earlier this month.

“There’s definitely an increase in traffic along both routes … that goes back through Ponsonby and so traffic through the whole areas has increased and at the corner here specifically in Alma, at 7 and 17, the amount of trucks turning, Jake brake noises as they come into town all of a sudden realizing it’s a 50 (km/h zone) –  and trying to stay on that corner without getting hit by a truck is a huge concern …” she stated.

“They cannot turn that corner without rolling either front or back tires over the entire curb area.”

The truck bypass is intended ease congestion on the Highway 6 corridor through Fergus, as well as improve walkability in the downtown and reduce truck noise impacts along the route.

At a June 17 public meeting on the county’s road master action plan (RMAP) study county engineer Don Kudo said the Centre Wellington master plan recommended the alternate route on Wellington Roads 7 and 17, stressing trucks are permitted on county roads.

The alternate route, he added, is not “necessarily a designated truck route by any means” but is available for trucks to bypass downtown Fergus should they wish.

Kudo also said a detour along the same route was used previously, during the David Street bridge construction in Fergus.

“Our review of the detour route traffic volumes and truck traffic did not notice any significant change,” Kudo said, indicating trucks have historically been using the route.