North Shore residents against proposed lane closure

To the Editor:

We are local permanent residents living in Pegasus Trails, who use the shore road to commute to work year-round and having to change our daily living to accommodate those on vacation is outrageous for many reasons. Even closing one part of the shore road will impact our daily living immensely. 

Our taxes are extremely high and we feel we should have full access to all areas that we are funding and should not have to surrender our rights as citizens for those who would only be using the trail for their vacation. 

For us to go to work via the town centre would increase the time to commute. We would have to go many kilometres further thus making our working day longer, gas and vehicle costs much higher which will impact even further on our finances. Also, the stress of having to negotiate the enormous traffic flow that uses the main thoroughfare through Port Elgin daily during the summer would be terrible. We have just begun the summer routine and already traffic flow through Port Elgin and on Hwy. 21 has increased tremendously. In addition, we would be increasing gas emissions and therefore further impacting the environment. The closing of this route for 1/2 or 1-day community and charitable events is difficult, but is supported as it is for charity. A summer or longer would be abhorrent. 

Sadly, we have had to actively seek information on what is happening in our own community with this proposed closure as information has not been evident, very clear, or forth coming. After actively sourcing the questionnaire from the local paper we have grave reservations and believe the questionnaire has not provided enough information. 

The summary says that the proposed closure is a temporary measure for 2020 whilst staff seek a permanent solution. The repairs, you say, will take many months.  If the closure goes ahead to find a solution, what is going to happen when the actual repairs needed to take place next summer and the summer after, implying further road closures and disruption, or will the temporary closures just become the norm and we lose use of this road permanently?  

At present the less leisurely cyclists (road cyclists as they ride far too speedily to be called leisure cyclists) and skaters use the roadways along with the cars so they can achieve greater speeds.  Should your proposal go through, they will continue to use the roads to achieve their speeds. It would be much more beneficial to reduce the KPH speed limit and keep the two lanes accessible to all. This in turn would help to stop those cyclists who use this route as though it were a road racing circuit. 

Furthermore, closing two lane traffic on this route will provide only one access point from North to South should there be any road closures through the town or on Highway 21 and those living in this area will not be able to gain access to their homes.  

The quoted proposed visitors to the area and using the Shore road in June, 13,000-15,000 by your office, suggests there will be little room for safe social distancing even should the proposed closures go ahead. Those who have already arrived are already flouting this 2m distance with other trail users, also increasing our risk of infections of Covid 19. 

We appreciate the need for safety and with clear communication and directives walkers, skaters, leisure and ‘road’ cyclists will be able to use the road and stoned area beside the road as it is. As Mayor Charbonneau stated in the recent council meeting that before the trail was constructed 10 years ago vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians all shared the space. Concession 10 is used very effectively by all those listed above with cars having access to both lanes and with much great speeds then you suggest for North Shore Rd., with no problems to date.  

 Yours Sincerely, 

 David and Fiona Miller.