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Local neighborhood group started online petition to stop proposed truck bypass over Pierpoint Park

Currently, there’s 12,244 signatures and counting on the petition
pierpoint
Pierpoint Park along the Grand River in Fergus.

The Pierpoint Neighbourhood Group has started an online petition in an attempt to stop construction of a proposed truck bypass bridge over Pierpoint Park in Fergus.

Peter van Vloten, a member of the group, started the petition on Change.org to try and stop the construction of the proposed truck bypass. 

The Centre Wellington Transportation Master Plan (TMP) proposed a truck bypass route in 2019 that included the construction of a new bridge across the Grand River which is suggested to link Wellington Road 29 and Anderson Street, north of Wellington Road 18.

“From the beginning, I’ve really felt that there were more voices of concern beyond ourselves with regards to the truck bypass. I thought the best way to confirm that is to do a petition,” explained van Vloten in a phone interview.

“We had some discussion about what the best approach to doing that would be. Initially, we wanted to do door to door, but decided to do an online petition.”

In his petition, van Vloten explained a myriad of reasons as to why the route should not be constructed:

  • The route would destroy an environmentally sensitive part of the Grand River
  • Remove Pierpoint Park, a nationally significant and protected Black heritage site
  • Eliminate Pierpoint Fly Fishing Nature Reserve, a prime, international fly fishing tourism destination
  • Terminate educational and recreational use of the Park by local residents and children from John Black School
  • Destroy the character of an existing prime residential neighbourhood in Fergus 

“For these reasons this route option is not feasible and is not able to be implemented. The undersigned concerned residents therefore request that this proposed truck route option be removed from the transportation master plan now so that Centre Wellington planners and council can focus on feasible bypass route alternatives going forward,” van Vloten stated in his online petition.

Van Vloten noted that he needs 15,000 signatures for the petition. Currently, there’s 12,244 signatures and counting on the petition. 

“One thinks of this as a local issue but there are much broader issues in this bypass as it relates to the environmental impact, the national heritage impact, and even the fly fishing,” said van Vloten during the interview.

“So because of these larger issues that the bypass has an impact on there was a lot of interest from the local area, regional areas around Centre Wellington, but also nationally. That’s what really struck me. The number of signatures just kept going up. We’ve struck a bit of nerve with this.”

Other residents have already taken it upon themselves to try and stop the construction and deliberations among township and county councillors. 

Several neighbours of van Vloten spoke as delegates at the November county roads committee meeting. They presented the same five issues van Vloten listed to council for further discussion. At the time, council did not make any decisions regarding the truck bypass as the project is in its early stages. 

However, the fate of the bypass can change as Peter Boyer, the resident leading the neighbourhood group, noted that they are set to be delegates at the Jan. 31 council meeting. 

“We will be presenting as citizen delegates at the Jan. 31 council meeting, and we will talk more about the bypass and van Vloten’s online petition as we really want this proposed bypass gone,” said Boyer in a phone call. 

The Centre Wellington Township did not confirm Boyer’s statements, noting that the Jan. 31 council meeting agenda has not yet been released to the public.