Resident wants to ensure positive voice regarding bypass letter/website

There were mixed feelings at council recently about a citizen letter sent to Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca regarding the proposed Highway 6 Morriston bypass.

On Sept. 2 Puslinch councillors had a chance to view the letter sent by Cameron Tuck.

In the letter Tuck stated, “On behalf of a group of concerned residents living on and near Highway 6 in Puslinch, I wrote to you last spring inviting you to visit the section of the Highway 6 that runs through Morriston, Puslinch.”

He said residents were very pleased that Del Duca came to see the situation for himself in July.

Tuck added, “After years of trying to raise this serious issue, the residents of Puslinch want to make sure the Morriston bypass project is being given serious consideration to be placed on the next five-year plan.”

Also included in the letter was mention of the website, which includes additional information regarding the need for the proposal.

It was the letter however, that drew mixed responses from councillors.

Councillor Ken Roth considered the letter a slight to Del Duca “and I don’t think that’s what we need right now.” Roth was discouraged by what he saw as a total lack of diplomacy.

That opinion was not shared by others at the table.

Councillor Susan Fielding was pleased to see the letter and did not see it as derogatory.

She saw it as representative of a component of concerned citizens.

Fielding said “we as a council understand this is an ongoing issue and there are citizens living with this day in and day out.”

For Fielding, the letter showed a unity of spirit of residents wanting the same thing. She also had no issue with the website.

Councillor Matthew Bulmer  considered the document as a private letter from a private citizen – and “good for them.”

However, he agreed there are different perspectives on the Highway 6 bypass.

“Fortunately, I think everyone is pulling in the same direction,” said Bulmer.

Lever said he did not have as many issues with the letter.

“Indeed I saw it as a citizen writing in that person’s own distinctive way,” he said.

However, he was not as happy with the website.

“There still seems to be a number of very misinformed and politically-motivated individuals who are determined to project an incorrect picture of the progress on this project,” said Lever.

“[The website] contains a history document which is seriously flawed and undermines the credibility of anyone associated with it.”

Lever focussed on the meeting he and Ted Arnott had with the minister and his policy advisor. Lever said two weeks ago, both he and Arnott received phone calls as a heads up on the province’s five-year capital plan and it’s release date … but not to be alarmed that the bypass was not on the list.

He said the project is being considered as the next cycle begins.

“That type of information is not relayed unless the province is listening and cares about the situation,” said Lever.

An additional email came to the Advertiser office last weekend from Jayne Mallin, a resident of Morriston who has been involved “with a group of local residents, most of whom are impacted quite significantly by Highway 6.”

She stated, “We have been quietly organizing our stories and putting together material in the event of any advocacy opportunities.”

Mallin then explained, “The reason we were doing so quietly is that we were aware that Puslinch Township council has been working diligently to get a meeting with the minister and we did not want to do anything to derail that process.”

She stated that once residents learned of the meeting with the minister and the positive nature of that meeting, group members had hoped to send a thank-you letter as a measure of positive support.

Mallin said she understood at least one council member was very critical of the letter and that the mayor was very upset by the website.

“As a result we have reached out to Mayor Lever to apologize for what he perceived as negative attribution to him on the website and with his input we have revised the history section to show no attribution or negativity,” Mallin stated.

“We want to work collaboratively with the township and not show any division at this critical juncture, as we are concerned that if the minister hears negativity he may distance himself from all of it and this will work against all of our objectives.”