Alma residents have already spoken out against increased truck traffic in their hamlet and now Mapleton politicians are also formally registering their disapproval.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council passed a motion indicating their opposition to both the current alternate truck route which runs through the community and a potential future permanent bypass.
“We want to make it known to the county that we are not in favour of having this alternative route or a future bypass coming through Alma,” Mayor Gregg Davidson said in a phone interview. “And most importantly we want the county to look at a different route than County Road 7 to 17 for a future bypass.”
Signs for the new alternate route, which diverts truck traffic away from downtown Fergus, were erected last month after a vote by Wellington County council in February 2020. Since then Alma residents have been raising concerns about safety, particularly at the community's main intersection where trucks are now expected to make a tight turn.
“There was no consultation with the community in that area… they had no knowledge of it coming,” said Davidson.
Davidson explained he sees the need for trucks to be diverted away from downtown Fergus, but doesn’t believe that means they should come through Alma instead.
Coun. Dennis Craven, who made the motion against the rerouting of trucks through Alma Tuesday night, voiced similar concerns.
“I really don’t think that Alma deserves to have all that extra traffic there,” Craven said.
Aside from safety concerns, particularly for students crossing to go to school and seniors and kids on their way to the park, Craven said the trucks are noisy and many use their jake breaks in the community.
“It’s just an awful lot more traffic and it’s just not safe to cross that road,” he said.
But Craven admitted he didn’t have an answer for where the bypass should go, if not through Alma.
Centre Wellington’s Transportation Master Plan did look at another option where Second Line would connect to Wellington Road 29 with a new crossing built over the Grand River, bringing trucks back to Highway 6 from the east side of Fergus.
However, the document states Second Line is currently unpaved and a new road would need to be constructed north of the Grand River through environmentally-sensitive lands or near existing residential development.
Mapleton council also heard from resident Amanda Reid, who presented a letter on behalf of a group called The Concerned Citizens of Wellington 7 and 17.
“Mapleton residents and all of those along Wellington 7 and 17 are now at increased risk, not to mention the already obvious lack of crosswalks and traffic calming in all of these areas,” said Reid, pointing in particular to “the hundreds of children who cross this route to attend Alma Public School.”
The group wants Mapleton's politicians support to ask for a re-vote on the county decision that saw the alternate truck route put through Alma. They're also calling for an engineering report into whether trucks can safely turn at the intersection of Wellington Roads 7 and 17 without leaving their lane.
Council voted to receive the letter as information.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com