Sundridge council having tough time finding suitable land for carpool site

Creating a location for a carpool site in the Village of Sundridge is proving to be more difficult than first thought.

Sundridge council easily endorsed the initiative which is from Almaguin Community Economic Development (ACED).

ACED first proposed the initiative in 2009 to address a lack of public transportation in Almaguin. But it never moved forward.

Now ACED is reviving the project and wants to hear from Almaguin communities over who's on board.

Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson says in order for carports to be well used, they need to be relatively close to the Highway 11 northbound and southbound entrance and exit ramps.

This is the setup that exists in Powassan where its carport sits next to the Highway 11 North on and off ramps and is also a very short distance from the southbound ramps.

Jackson says it's been his experience in southern Ontario that unless the carpool site is fairly close to a highway ramp, it will not be well used.

Mayor Lyle Hall said the town council can provide a letter of support but is not in a position to provide the land simply because it doesn't own any property that's close to the highway ramps.

Coun. Enzo Seca suggested perhaps council can use part of the town hall parking lot as a carpool site.

However, Hall said the municipal lot can be very busy at times and he added it might not be close enough to Highway 11 as some motorists would prefer.

Jackson suggested working with one of the surrounding municipalities in case they are interested in the ACED proposal.

Jackson said perhaps in some way, Sundridge can provide financial support to a neighbouring community.

“I'd be in favour of that,” Jackson said.

One possibility could see Sundridge and Strong form a carpool partnership since both municipalities sit next to one another and Strong may have land available.

Council eventually passed a motion to support the ACED initiative and to consider partnering with a neighbouring municipality that has a location available.

With this term of council drawing to a close, the endeavour will now fall on the new town councils which will be sworn into office Tuesday.

For the municipalities that become part of the carpool project, ACED will promote the sites on its new Explore Almaguin website which would also highlight the benefits of carpooling.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget