Rainbow is the new white it seems; at least when it comes to crosswalks.
Tiny is looking to members of the public along with a previously consulted association for input on the design and inclusivity, but not necessity, of a pair of Tiny Beaches Road South and Concession 9 West crosswalks.
During the committee of the whole meeting, members of Tiny council addressed a staff report set forward in July which reconsidered a crosswalk project at the three-way intersection.
“We’re really focused on safety along Tiny Beaches Road,” Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma began. “We’ve implemented some ‘emergency measures’ for installation of signage in-year, and I think this is one of those pieces that speaks to community safety.”
During a previous study regarding the project, concerns were raised in 2016 by the Carusoe Bay Association about road safety in the above area along with Sand Road. Signage and a crosswalk were installed, but Tiny residents took issue through a series of letters to council in 2017, citing pedestrian traffic not using the crosswalk properly and providing photo documentation. As a result, the township left the signage up but painted the intersection black with intention of looking into future safety measures.
A road safety survey in 2020, initiated by the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations, revealed 96% of the approximately 450 responses felt unsafe along Tiny Beaches Road South due to speeding.
“It’s a busy beach,” continued Walma in his opening remarks, “we have permit parking at that beach, it is a very tricky corner, and I believe this is one of those items that we can implement to improve community safety.
“I also see it as an opportunity to potentially join the inclusivity movement; maybe put in a rainbow crosswalk,” Walma added.
Coun. Tony Mintoff noted that the Carusoe Bay Association had created the most resistance to the initial implementation last time around, which ultimately made council backtrack, and asked staff if they had been consulted for the latest staff report.
Public works director Tim Leitch stated that no associations had been contacted but that staff would do so at council’s discretion.
Different to the 2017 installation, the placement of the north crosswalk at Conc. 9 W would not go directly west-and-east as it was back then, but instead southwest-and-northeast directly adjacent to the beach access; additionally, a new south crosswalk would be installed west-and-east as adjacent to the south side of the beach access.
Mayor George Cornell acknowledged that because of the history of the intersection, providing both the public and the Carusoe Bay Association with council’s direction could be beneficial for input on the project.
“It’s not necessarily so new now,” said Cornell. “We’ve done the initiative down at Jones Road and Concession 5 and we’ve got the hashing there where we’ve done something a little different to provide a safe access for residents and visitors to get to the beach access.
“I think we’ve learned and grown as a council and a community, and our recommendation is to put something back in place to make it safer for those who want to traverse from Concession 9 to the beach access,” Cornell said, adding that council was not looking for approval but to communicate their decision.
As the topic swayed to inclusivity and unique design, mention of the Wyevale Central Public School crosswalk design from last year came to the forefront with Cornell asking Leitch for an update.
“Unfortunately, there have been some delays from the original timing. There’s a significant shortage of this type of paint,” Leitch admitted. “We’re struggling to try and get all these different kinds of colours, and having the application done it’s different from a typical crosswalk which requires more of an artist than a line painter.”
Leitch further apologized, stating that once paint is obtained public works will continue the project.
“My apologies to everybody that applied and won the contest, and to the school, council, and to the public. We’re trying our best to try and overcome this obstacle."
Information on town hall meetings and other public events are available on the Tiny Township website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca