Council considers reduced speed limit near school

Wellington North council is split on whether to install a four-way stop and reduce the speed limit on Sideroad 3 East, where a Mennonite school is located.  

Councillor Sherry Burke brought forward a notice of motion at the May 23 council meeting stating the intersection of Concession 4 North and Sideroad 3 East has become a safety concern for children with the addition of the Ghent gravel pit and proposed Weber gravel pit.

She asked that the township make the intersection a four-way stop and reduce the speed limit on Sideroad 3 East in order to improve safety for students of a Mennonite school in the area.

Burke said the township has already reduced the speed on Concession 4 North, based on recommendations from an Ontario Municipal Board hearing before the Ghent pit was approved.

“My reasoning for bringing this forward is to ensure … that step is taken because of the recommendation of the OMB hearing decision and also the continued requests of the residents along that concession,” said Burke.

However, some councillors were not in support of the requested changes.

“I don’t mind at all to put speed signs up for (Sideroad 3 East), but I’m not really supporting a four-way stop at that corner,” said councillor Steve McCabe.

“I think that’s going to be a lot louder for the residents that are there.”

Mayor Andy Lennox said he thinks council needs more information before making a decision.

“One of the troubles I have with this particular situation is, I look around at a number of other schools, Mennonite schools, even one as close as one block over on Concession 6, a paved road with significantly more traffic and we’re still at an 80km/h speed limit there,” he said.

“I’m puzzled why this is more of an issue on Sideroad 3 than Concession 6, Concession 9, or Concession 11, where we have schools on all of those.”

Lennox suggested staff look into the implications of reducing speed at all Mennonite school areas.

“I’m no authority, no expert on what’s the appropriate action to take,” he said. “I struggle with how do we decide to do this for this school and don’t give consideration to all the other schools around in the same community.”

Burke said the Concession 4 North/Sideroad 3 East intersection could be the first step in that process. She asked council to vote on the resolution as it was presented.

Burke and councillor Dan Yake voted in favour, while McCabe, Lennox and councillor Lisa Hern were opposed.

With the motion defeated, Lennox then brought forward a resolution directing staff to review the implications of the speed changes.

That motion passed unanimously.