Residents of Ogdens Beach Road sent a letter to Tay Township council last year expressing concerns about speeding on the stretch of road off Highway 12 with no sidewalks.
When no response was received, a second letter was sent asking why.
Several council members addressed the matter at a recent regular meeting held remotely through the Zoom platform. From her own home, Coun. Mary Warnock spoke first, saying she agreed with the resident's concerns.
“It is an area that reduced speed, I think, would be warranted. I think there’s other areas of the township as well that have been brought to our attention in the past," said Warnock whose words were cut off while a revving motor quickly entered, drowned out the conversation, and faded out after a few seconds.
“As you can hear, somebody just went by on Richard; that was pretty fast,” Warnock added with a laugh. She concluded by offering that speed reduction and signage be explored, possibly as a priority for the next council.
After confirming that Ogdens Beach Road was under the jurisdiction of Tay Township, Mayor Ted Walker proposed the matter be looked at in an upcoming committee meeting for operational services.
Last month, residents along Old Fort Road adjacent to Highway 12 raised similar concerns of excess speeding which had impacted their lives when their beloved pet was struck and killed by a motorist travelling above the posted limit. They were informed that the County of Simcoe was responsible for that roadway.
Highway 12 is 80 kilometres per hour from Waubaushene to Midland, with just a few traffic stops between. Both Ogdens Beach Road and Old Fort Road run perpendicular, and the concerns from both residents address speeding vehicles exiting the 80 kph zones of Highway 12 to continue at those speeds or higher into their own streets.
Coun. Jeff Bumstead spoke at length about the concerns, noting that a greater OPP presence along Highway 12 could reduce speeders along the stretch.
“If anyone can drive on Highway 12 from Midland through Waubaushene and beyond knowing they’re not getting pulled over at 100 (kph), then why do they think they’ll get pulled over doing 70 in our 50s, 80 in our 60s, and 90 to 100 in our 80s?” asked Bumstead.
“In Tay itself, there should be no road that is 80 other than Highway 12 and County Road 23 in my opinion, and until that changes and (there is) more enforcement along those roads and the secondary roads of Tay, then it’s going to be an ongoing effort for everyone.”
Bumstead added that he had written to council back in 2007 regarding the matter, and was pleased to see that despite the length of time to address the issue, this council had been exploring a data study for a resolution.
“The solution is not going to be one-size-fits-all, that’s for sure. And not everyone’s going to be happy,” said Bumstead. “If we reduce speed on a street then the people who are speeding will be going even faster."
Coun. Barry Norris commented that the problem wasn’t localized to Tay Township alone.
“The bottom line comes back: it’s the ignorance of drivers in this province. I’m sorry. You can put any sign you want up, and everyone ignores it," said Norris.
“There’s a major problem. It just doesn’t seem to matter; everyone wants to drive at the right speed in their own neighbourhood, yet as soon as they leave their neighbourhood they’re doubling their speed.”
Other areas of concern noted by council were Bayview Avenue, Hoyt Avenue, Robins Point Road, and Osborne Street.
Council agreed to address the correspondence from the Ogdens Beach Road residents while awaiting staff to provide general manager of operational services Shawn Berriault a report, expected this fall.
Correspondences from the Ogdens Beach Road residents can be found in the council agenda on the Township of Tay website.
Tay council meets for regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Further information including council’s agendas can be found on the Tay Township website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca