Public weighs in on Bayham budget

·6 min read

Bayham councillors at a special meeting Tuesday, Jan. 4, reviewed extensive comments from several residents on the municipality’s proposed budget for 2022, but the only immediate action they’ll take will be to make the intersection of Schafer Road and Goshen Line an all-way stop, and possibly adding more portable toilets to the East Beach in Port Burwell during summer months.

Bicycle signs

William Rumble asked councillors to put signage on roads to remind motorists that bicyclists also used them.

“There seems to be a total lack of respect,” with vehicles passing within inches of bicyclists, he complained.

Staff comments noted that each sign would cost $113 to purchase and install, and asked if they should just be in Straffordville or throughout the township. A total of 23 potential signs would cost $2,600, plus installation labour.

Deputy Mayor Rainey Weisler asked about provincial regulations governing such warning signs.

Public Works Manager Steve Adams said the Highway Traffic Act and the Ontario Traffic Manual provided some guidelines, but not where they should be installed. That was at the discretion of councillors, he added.

Mayor Ed Ketchabaw said, “I don’t see the case for it just yet,” but perhaps Bayham could look into what neighbouring municipalities were doing.

Councillors instructed staff to prepare a report after a county “master transportation plan”, currently underway was completed.

Volunteers lauded

Susanne Schlotzhauer and Jodi and Wayne Thibodeau suggested that “bioswales” on East Beach in Port Burwell needed to be thinned out.

The Thibodeaus also suggested more flower planting and hanging baskets to beautify downtowns in Bayham’s villages, and doing a better job maintaining the existing ones.

The staff comments about the bioswales noted that the Otter Valley Naturalists had been maintaining and, working to keep invasive species out of them.

The swales were meant to be “a natural area.”

Mr. Adams said he’d consulted with Long Point Regional Conservation Authority, and in May would be meeting with representatives on site to review the state of the swales.

The bioswales couldn’t be sprayed with pesticide, he continued.

As for planting flowers and hanging baskets, Mr. Adams reported the municipality currently put up 20 hanging each year, buying them from a local landscaper for $40 each.

Those baskets and a total of 53 concrete planters around the village were watered on a regular basis by summer student workers, he said. The baskets were watered every weekday, and the planters three days a week.

That watering, and raking Port Burwell’s East Beach, pretty much occupied one student worker for the entire summer, he said.

He added that all the concrete planters around Port Burwell were maintained by the Naturalists, except for watering. He saw them weeding and doing other work each summer.

“They’re doing a fantastic job,” Councillor Susan Chilcott said, adding the planters were situated throughout Bayham, not just Port Burwell.

Enforcement

The Thibodeaus and Marni Wolfe suggested Bayham needed to hire a full-time bylaw-enforcement officers or part-time ones.

The municipality currently has a contract with a private company to provide enforcement in Port Burwell on summer weekends.

The Thibodeaus urged more enforcement of parking, littering and other bylaws.

Bayham Administrator Thomas Thayer said the municipality had just signed on to a study by Malahide Township to provide joint planning and bylaw-enforcement services.

He recommended waiting for the results of that before taking further action.

If Bayham hired its own officer, he noted, the new employee would need office space the municipality didn’t have, as well as the cost of salary and a patrol vehicle.

Food trucks

The Thibodeaus next proposed that Bayham encourage additional food truck operations on East Beach, rather than just the one choice for food, and to reduce crowding and wait times.

Deputy Mayor Weisler said the municipality had a tough time getting any bids for food concessions on the beach.

Mr. Adams said the beach would require substantial upgrades if more food operations were to be situated there, including increases in available hydro and water lines.

Cr. Chilcott worried that more food trucks might take business away from village restaurants.

Beach toilets

The Thibodeaus urged councillors to install additional flush toilets on East Beach.

“The porta-potties are overflowing most times, and very dirty and stinky to use, especially during long weekend.”

East Beach has a small building containing change rooms and flush toilets, which are supplemented by portable toilets.

Mr. Thayer said expanding the existing building to house more flush toilets would come at a “substantial” capital cost.

Mayor Ketchabaw noted the municipality had already including addressing the need for toilets on the beach in its 10-year capital forecast, and councillors had previously discussed leaving the change room building open further into the autumn, each year.

Mayor Ketchabaw asked how often the portables were serviced.

Mr. Adam said the current portable toilet rental contract called for servicing three times a week, typically on Monday, mid-week and then Friday. A long weekend could put an additional burden on those portables, though.

The municipality paid $300 a month for two portable toilets at the beach. If more were ordered, he would have to find an appropriate spot to situate them.

Cr. Chilcott asked about bringing in more portables just for long weekends.

Mr. Adams said he could look into pricing, but with a charge for installing and removing the portables, monthly rentals would probably be the most affordable choice.

Councillors directed staff to prepare a report on the situation, to be considered this spring.

Three-way stop

Kylie Baer urged councillors to install a three-way stop at the “y” intersection of Goshen Road and Schafer Road.

(Schafer is a through road, while Goshen Road terminates at an angle at Schafer.)

“This intersection is blind and incredibly dangerous,” Ms. Baer noted.

Mr. Adams said he’d heard similar comments from other residents around the intersection over the last three years.

A similar request was made in June of 2020, but an assessment found that a three-way stop wasn’t required there under Highway Traffic Act and Ontario Traffic Manual standards.

The sightlines at the intersection were slightly obscured, but motorists could still see over 400 metres in each direction.

The daily volume of traffic there averaged 110 vehicles a day, and the Ontario Traffic Manual didn’t suggest stop signs at such intersections on roads with fewer than 350 daily.

Adding two more stop signs to the intersection would cost about $500, he stated.

Mayor Ketchabaw said given the proximity of a hill to the intersection, residents were afraid drivers couldn’t see far enough ahead when coming to it.

The provincial regulations might not require an all-way stop there, he said, but the relief it might bring to neighbours came at a relatively low cost.

Other council members agreed.

Rob Perry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express

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