Residents upset over new look of 99 Street
Gate at west end removed without input from homeowners
Residents living along 99 Street near the new Spirit Centre are requesting the town do something to rein in the traffic along the road.
At issue is the removal of the gate that blocked off the west end of the street for nearly two decades, a move that many residents are unhappy with because there was no consultation about its permanent removal.
During the July 9 council meeting, councillors discussed a letter addressed to mayor Bruce Lennon by Alan Watt. In the letter, Watt states he and his neighbours had not been informed the gate would be removed once construction on the Spirit Centre wrapped up.
“In speaking to my neighbours I cannot find any who had consultation about this change,” he wrote.
Watt also explained how the gate first came to be.
“The gate was originally put there at the request of residents on the street to deal with the high speed traffic that this drag strip seems to encourage,” he wrote.
When contacted to further explain his concerns, Watt declined to comment, stating he wanted to receive a response from Lennon first.
The way Lennon understands the situation surrounding the removal of the gate is that access to the Spirit Centre parking lot off 99 Street is required.
Town CAO Darrell Garceau confirmed that belief.
“The intention going forward is to provide access to Mountie Park from the highway as well as 99 Street,” he said.
That plan essentially means reinstalling a gate or another means of blocking off traffic is a non-starter, Lennon said.
“The way it’s set up not, I don’t think that’s realistic,” he said. “It’s just the way the whole thing is designed, we have to have that street open for that entry into the Spirit Centre.”
However, he said the town recognizes it likely didn’t go about removing the gate in the correct way by neglecting to discuss the move with the area residents.
As such, Lennon said the town intends to meet the people who live on the street to sort out what can be done to fix the situation.
To do that means bringing a cooperative attitude to the consultations.
“This is what we’re doing, or proposing to do, and this is the reason,” he suggested the dialogue would have to go. “Have you got any ideas how we can make sure we don’t have this turn into a drag strip again?”
Ideas being looked into include installing three-way stops along the street, or putting several speed bumps along the road, Garceau said.
“A three-way stop would be more beneficial as opposed to speed bumps,” he said. “Speed bumps do work … but when it comes to moving snow and being able to maintain our roads, it creates difficulties.”
Lennon confirmed both methods were on the table, but said he wasn’t sure how stop signs would work.
Regardless of the solution, he said the important thing is that the town and area residents discuss it before anything is done.
“We said we’ve got to come up with some ideas and have the 99 Street people give input to us and we’ll see where we’re at,” he said.
That admission is the least Watt is looking for.
“It would have been preferable if the residents were consulted before this change was made. I think that the council should reconsider this move perhaps with a little or a lot of local input,” he wrote.
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