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Councillor - Town of Blue Mountains

Comments on Eden Oaks Development

My name is Michael Seguin and I speak tonight as President of the Blue Mountain Ratepayers’ Association.

The Blue Mountain Ratepayers’ Association has a number of members in the immediate area and many of our members travelled frequently along Highway 26 through the Craigleith community and the area around Lakeshore Road East, so we can say we are a major stakeholder interested in the safety of its members and the community at large. The area is also heavily travelled by tourists and Lakeshore Road East is accessed by school buses on week days.

In March, 2010, the Town Council adopted a Comprehensive Transportation Strategic Plan prepared by AECOM Canada Ltd., which identified the Lakeshore Road East/West Junction of Fraser Crescent as a key intersection requiring the need for exclusive left turn lanes on the eastbound and westbound approaches. This study cannot be ignored and brushed aside based on any traffic study prepared by an advocate of the proponent.

Based on an average traffic flow of over 10,000 vehicles a day and increasing by almost 2% per year and a posted speed limit of 80 km/h, the study recognized the importance of making these intersection improvements sooner rather than later, in 2013. The construction of a 217 unit development will undoubtedly contribute to this traffic flow and the dangers at this intersection.

The proponent wants to delay these intersection improvements and the costs. MTO originally permitted a delay until 40 units had been completed and now the proponent wants to extend the delay until 55 units have been completed. Based on existing development and absorption, only 50-60 building permits are being issued on a yearly basis. These road improvements could be delayed for 5-10 years based on current absorption and the dangers will just continue to escalate.

MTO has stated in a recent email that they will not increase the 40 unit cap to 55 units – that’s a start but is still unacceptable. It’s important to note that the 40 unit cap was granted before the Town’s Comprehensive Transportation Study. Also, MTO has stated that the left hand turn lanes should also recognize a 100 km/h design speed rather the posted 80 km/h speed – does this not tell us that there is a problem at this intersection.

The OPP reported prior to the September long weekend that 232 people had died on roads and highways as of August 27, 2012 compared to 195 during the same period of 2011 – almost a 19% increase. If we do nothing to make our roads safer or be more proactive, then we risk more road fatalities which would affect the desire to live here and the desire to travel here.

Putting off construction of turning lanes, identified as being necessary in 2013, another 5-10 years is not considered being proactive or responsible – The Transportation Plan is telling us that any delay beyond 2013 could jeopardize the lives and safety of our members and the travelling public.

Notwithstanding MTO’s comments to permit a cap of 40 units and any Traffic Study the proponent may offer to support a delay, the Town should not proceed with approval until the proponent agrees to pay the costs for the necessary turning lane improvements in 2013. The BMRA supports this position. The Town should be considering safety before profits. If the proponents believe in their development as a viable and profitable one, and if they believe in the safety of their own future residents and the community at large, then they will agree to the necessary intersection improvements in 2013 and not sometime in the unknown future.

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