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Council considers U-turn on stop sign decision

By Patrick Bales, The Orillia Packet & Times

PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES
The view of the intersection of Bay Street and Fittons Road, looking north at Bay Street. The stop signs for Fittons Road approved by council in summer have yet to be installed.

PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES The view of the intersection of Bay Street and Fittons Road, looking north at Bay Street. The stop signs for Fittons Road approved by council in summer have yet to be installed.

Those opposed to an all-way stop at the intersection of Bay Street and Fittons Road are failing to yield.

Councillors will reconsider the resolution to place an all-way stop there in October. The motion to reconsider, which required two-thirds of council support to have the original motion put back on the floor for discussion, passed by a count of 7-1, with Coun. Pat Hehn opposed, and Mayor Steve Clarke was not required to vote.

The motion was then postponed until council's second meeting for October.

The move to reconsider was introduced by Coun. Tim Lauer. While Lauer is still in favour of the motion as it stands, he is heeding to concerns he's heard about how the resolution was passed.

"When we do have summer sessions, we do get caught on some issues," he said. "There isn't the usual or adequate time to respond."

Area resident Peter Dance wrote councillors with his displeasure about the resolution passing. At the Aug. 22 council committee meeting, a staff report on placing an all-way stop indicated such intersection control wasn't warranted in that location. As such, the recommendation was to receive as information, which is what council committee did.

Later that evening, during the regular meeting of council, the item was pulled from the committee report. The recommendation to receive as information was defeated and instead the decision was made to add stop signs for the traffic on Fittons Road to the ones already in place on Bay Street. Hehn, one of the ward's representatives, put that motion on the floor, with the mayor issuing the deciding vote.

"Even old broads like me can reprogram their brains, so I think anyone can adjust to a stop sign," Hehn said in her defence of the all-way stop.

Dance felt it was best to listen to staff, and he would have told councillors so if he hadn't thought they would follow the recommendation.

"The report was presented to committee (and on a consent agenda) with a recommendation that it simply be received," he wrote. "As a local resident I did not feel the need to talk to my ward councillors or provide further comment. The disappointment is understandable when a few hours later council has made a decision other than what was recommended."

Lauer said once the issue was reconsidered, a postponement would allow for councillors to get a grasp on the issues the residents in the area have, including driving through the intersection.

Mason Ainsworth was the only councillor opposed to postponing the motion, wanting to get the issue dealt with Monday evening. He and Coun. Sarah Valiquette-Thompson had been absent for the Aug. 22 meeting, due to illness and holiday, respectively.

It will return to the council agenda Oct. 24.

pbales@postmedia.com

twitter.com/patrickbales



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