Speeding concerns spark call for Community Safety Zones

WELLINGTON COUNTY – A county council member is calling for the establishment of county-wide Community Safety Zones in response to concerns about speeding on local roads.

Councillor Jeff Duncan introduced a notice of motion that, if approved, would direct staff to prepare a report on the options for establishing such zones by the end of January.

Community Safety Zones are designated sections of roadway marked with signs that are recognized under provincial legislation as areas that allow for the doubling of fines associated with speeding.

Earlier in the meeting, during discussion of the June Police Services board meeting report, councillor James Seeley raised concerns about speeding on county roads.

Pointing to statistics in the traffic unit report, Seeley stated, “You can see a trend of less and less charges in the traffic unit.

“My question is, is that due to lack of resources or resources being redeployed elsewhere?” Seeley asked.

“Speeding is becoming quite an issue in Wellington County on our road network and the complaints just keep filing in and filing in.”

OPP Inspector Paul Richardson, who was asked by Warden Kelly Linton to respond to the question during the teleconference meeting, said, “There has been a bit of decline, but we’re definitely aware of the concern in the community.”

Richardson continued, “I think you going to find in the next few days some things will be coming to light and we will be addressing some of the more prevalent concerns.

“Most recently, due to COVID, we did see a dramatic decrease in traffic enforcement because the traffic itself was down.

“But I would certainly concur that with summer upon us and some loosening of restrictions related to COVID, we’re definitely seeing a change in traffic trends and we’re putting resources to that.”

Councillor Alan Alls agreed speeding is a problem in the county.

“There isn’t a day go by I don’t hear something from a resident about ‘Can’t you do something about speeding?’” said Alls.

“I sympathize with the OPP in trying to handle this issue.”

Councillor Steve O’Neil said, “That is the most prevalent concern I get brought up to me right now, is the speeding through some of our smaller hamlets and I would like to see some more action taken on those issues.”

Linton told council that Duncan’s motion would be circulated to council members and be discussed at the next regular county council meeting in September.