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Centre Wellington councillor and residents take traffic concerns to police board

Centre Wellington councillor Neil Dunsmore, brought five township residents with him during his delegation
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County of Wellington Administration Centre. Keegan Kozolanka/GuelphToday file photo

WELLINGTON COUNTY - Speeding was top of mind among police board members after a Centre Wellington councillor and a few township residents spoke as delegates regarding the ongoing speeding concerns in Centre Wellington. 

Centre Wellington Ward 4 councillor, Neil Dunsmore, along with five Centre Wellington residents spoke as delegates at the county’s police services board meeting on Wednesday. 

“There’s always talks in Centre Wellington council with regards to traffic and speeding issues. The way we can control this is through traffic calming measures, whether we put in roundabouts, narrow the roads, speed signs, speed bumps and humps,” said Dunsmore in an interview. 

“This issue is a package deal and a package approach, which is why I wanted to bring these residents who are experiencing these speeding issues firsthand to the police board. The board actually communicates very directly with the OPP, so it’s a multi-prong approach.”

Dunsmore explained speeding complaints are the number one complaints he and the rest of the township council receive, further noting he receives more than 40 complaints weekly from concerned residents in all hours of the day. 

Living in the corner of Belsyde Avenue East and Scotland Street, one of the busiest intersections in the township, Dunsmore said he knows firsthand how fast and dangerous many drivers can be. 

“I often hear 18 wheelers using their air brakes at three in the morning because they thought they could make the red light and then realize they couldn’t and they have to jam on their brakes. My whole house actually shakes every time it happens,” said Dunsmore. 

He further noted that with the forecasted growth Centre Wellington is expected to accommodate in the future, traffic and speeding issues will only get worse and as such the issues need to be addressed now.

Centre Wellington residents Peter Viol and Michael Madden were two of the five that spoke as delegates in order to bring awareness to the speeding issues that are happening on South River Road, Middleton Avenue, and Millburn Avenue. 

“Being able to have this opportunity allows us to believe there’s something being done about our situation in Centre Wellington. These traffic type issues are endemic throughout rural Ontario; it’s always the same issue,” said Viol in an interview.

“What concerns me is the amount of disregard with the Highway Traffic Act from these dangerous drivers. One of my tipping points is one day in the wintertime I saw someone walking on the sidewalk get off the sidewalk to allow a snowmobile to pass. The snowmobile driver thought it was too dangerous to drive on the road.”

Another resident pointed out his experience with the speeding issues, explaining that he was gardening one day and one driver was driving too fast on South River Road and lost control of his vehicle and drove onto his garden. 

Wellington OPP Sgt. Steve Thomas explained the OPP tracks the number of calls that come in in specific areas and then either undertake a speed spy test in a particular area, or send one of their traffic units to a chronic area to manage the roads. 

“We also have Black Cat radar cameras at our disposal and these are covert speed measuring devices and we’re able to deploy those in a particular location in the county using the data we collected from the Black Cat cameras,” said Thomas during the meeting. 

In September 2021, Wellington County approved the purchase of seven Black Cat radar cameras at a total cost of approximately $28,000. 

Black Cat radar cameras allow police to record traffic speed and collect data to help them more accurately determine areas to target for enforcement.

“We’ve taken notes and understand your concerns and will do everything we can to try and accommodate your concerns. We understand speeding is a concern for everyone and I’ll definitely hand off these notes to my team,” said Thomas.