Yates Drive and March Crossing

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Just the mere mention of that intersection causes many residents in the area to roll their eyes.

Why? We have seen many near misses of vehicles driving down Yates from Thompson Road with cars coming out of March Crossing. This weekend was no different.

Lets go back in time to this past summer around the dinner hour. Local residents were brought out of their homes with the sounds of screeching tires, loud thumps and a big bang. What had happened was a car traveling north on Yates Drive towards Bennett Blvd. at what witnesses describe as “over the speed limit”, narrowly missing a vehicle coming out on March Crossing into the intersection. This car swerved to miss that car, lost control and jumped the curb on the opposite side of the road and smash into a house. Luckily there was no one hurt, the car sustained some damage and the bay window of the home was damaged.

For those of us who live in the area know, kids are walking up and down the sidewalk heading to their friends homes or to the local parks and thank God no one was there was this happened.

Now, we go back to this past Saturday and the almost exact situation happened again. A car traveling up Yates Drive from Thompson Road heading towards Bennett Blvd. driving up the street, narrowly misses a car coming out from March Crossing, loses control and jumps the curb on the opposite side and hits the same house in almost the identical spot.

Enough is enough. Im not one person who favours putting stop signs at every intersection or reducing speed when there is no justification. Something has to change before any other home or God forbid, someone is injured or killed.

The speed limit on Yates Drive is 50km/hr. During last falls election campaign, I spoke with many people about community safety and what we as citizens can do to make our streets safer. Many of you favoured reducing the speed limit on streets. Is that enough?

Would a 40km/hr speed limit saved this home owner from yet another insurance claim and time away from their lives to repair the damage to their home that someone else caused? Maybe.

If the speed limit was reduced it might be cause for the driver to make sure they slow down. Who really knows.

Would a stop sign have done the trick? Again, who knows. If drivers know there is a stop sign approaching at that intersection, would they reduce their speed before they come to March Crossing?

Possibly. Only if people open their eyes and realize our residential and town roads are not speedways.

It’s frustrating to live in an area such as this with such amazing neighbours and people living in the subdivision to have to deal with this. The only thing we have left is to turn to the town of Milton and see what can be done.

For years now, residents have complained about speeding on our streets. To the town’s credit they have done some studies about excess speed on Yates Drive and have concluded it doesnt warrant a stop sign at this particular intersection.

My message, that I plan on delivering with the help of the local residents, is simply this.

Reduce the speed to 40km/h and / or put a 4 way stop at this intersection. By doing nothing, is simply condoning this behaviour and endorsing what has already happened.

The safety of the people in the area, their homes and our children are more important than worrying about if people will be inconvenienced by an additional stop sign.

Whats more important to you?

Is the Green Cart program enough

 

The Region of Halton recently announced that it was going forward with a Green Cart Program to help reduce the amount of waste that heads to our landfill site. In case people are unaware of where that landfill site is, take a trip down 25 (Bronte Road) south of Derry and you will soon see it.

There was quite the discussion during the last municipal election on what should be done with the landfill, which is quickly approaching capacity. With the hundreds and hundreds of new homes being built in the area there will be a further demand on that landfill and its up to us as residents to do our part.

The Region of Halton currently has the Blue Box program in place. You are to put glass, plastics etc in one box and in the other we place the acceptable paper products, boxes, etc. As of April 2008 it was announced that residents will be able to put all products into one box instead of separating it, given the improvement in the separation technology available.

During that campaign a debate raged on about the EFW (Energy From Waste) proposal that was put before Regional Council and the pros and cons involved. In essence, an incinerator would be built at the landfill and the waste would then be burned using clean technology to produce energy that would be used in the region of Halton and beyond. Coupled with this proposal there was the much maligned Pristine Power Plant issue that seemed to dominate the last half of the campaign.

Recently Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr along with council announced that it was putting the EFW option aside permanently and focusing only on the existing programs and the Green Cart.

Does it go far enough?

With our landfill approaching capacity quickly (some analysts have said that within 25 years Halton will be required to have another landfill or another option in place for our garbage) will simply placing household food scraps and other materials in our Green Box do the job? With the landfill approaching capacity by 2023 according to Halton Region analysis, we need to take sufficient action now. The addition of the Green Cart program will add 7 years to the life of the landfill where the EFW facility would solve our problems for close to 50 years from now.

The EFW program, according to the proposal and the experts would have added at least another 100 years to the life of the Halton landfill. Does the Green Cart program go far enough?

At first glance it would seem that unless I’m mistaken and someone can hopefully provide me with more information, that it would have little affect on the amount of garbage at the landfill. The Region of Halton, and residents in general, need to come up with a longer range plan to solve the landfill issue.

Of course costs will be a major factor in making this decision. Who pays for it, how will we pay for it, etc. But the main question remains, what will it cost if nothing gets done? What if we wait until the landfill is near capacity and decisions have to be made then? The cost to taxpayers will pale in comparison and who knows the effect on our environment.

The amount of available land is decreasing with every new resident that we welcome to the area. What other options are there available to increase the life of our landfill?

It seems that the easier political issue would be to scrap the EFW and go with the easier to sell Green Cart Program. Tough decision are going to have to be made NOW and not 25 years from now when our landfill is overflowing and the residents will be screaming for answers.

Lets look at all the options … now, before its too late. Food scraps and other items just wont cut it.

Every Vote DOES Count

As many of you are aware, there was a provincial election recently. The campaign seemed to go on forever since Premier Dalton McQuinty closed down Queens Park early this summer and thus the rubber hit the road.

During that campaign there was a referendum on our voting system that we, as voters, had to figure out and make a decision on. The future of the province was up for grabs. Did we think that the Liberals did a good enough job to carry on for four more years or did they deserve to get the boot?

Despite what side of that arguement you sat on, one thing we should all be able to agree upon is this…the voter turnout was dissappointing.

Just over half of the electorate came out to vote. This statistic has been continually debated after each election and a common theme has emerged. My vote doesn’t count.

Now when I hear that, it makes me shake my head. A perfect example can be given from this past provincial election.

Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh has been representing our riding of Halton for 12 years. He, in my and many peoples opinions, has done a very good job representing us in fights to secure more funding for Milton’s hospital and other services our growing community needs.

To put a long story short, Ted was returned to Queens Park on October 10th with a difference of only 164 votes when everything was counted. Going from having the highest plurality of votes by a winning candidate in the last elections to one of, if not THE closest margin of victory this time. Regardless of what you thought about faith based education funding and what kind of impact that had on Ted’s results, it just goes to show that everyone who did vote here in Halton….those votes counted.

Another example from the previous federal election can be found with our current Minister of Health, Tony Clement. He won his riding by only 28 votes. On election night and before the recount, he had only won by 21 votes. Again, in that riding as well as others, those votes counted.

Want more? Lets go back in time shall we? Almost one year ago in fact.

Last year around this time we were in the midst of our municipal election campaign. I was spending almost each and every waking moment hitting the doors and talking to as many people as possible. My blog was being updated on a daily basis with comments and observations that I got from the voters in my ward.

Every issue that came up, I did my best to put out there exactly what my stand on the issue was and what can be done to fix that problem. From Pristine Power to road safety to green growth and to accountibility of the elected officials…everything was up for discussion.

In Milton, each ward can elect 2 town councillors to represent them. In our current system its the first two candidates with the highest votes that win. In past elections in Ward One, the difference between the first two candidates and the third were hundreds of votes. This time around in 2006, the difference betweeen an elected seat and the third place was only 92 votes.

Less than 100 votes separated myself from current Councilor Brian Penman. Not a large margin…and that’s democracy for you.

So when I hear from people that my vote doesnt count, I bring them to these examples and say, YES your vote DOES count.

Instead of coming up with different ways to count our votes (ie MMP et all) we should be taking a hard look at ourselves and our priorities when it comes to the ballot box.

Why didnt you vote?  Oh I didnt have time.  The last provincial election had several days of advanced polls so that people who would find it hard to go vote on election day, can come out and have their voice heard.  I believe the advanced polls were open 5 days and open for almost 10 hours on election day.  There are laws in place to allow everyone a chance to vote.  Many people dont take advantage of these options and its saddening to say the least.

In the last municipal election less than 30% of people voted.  In the following by election in Ward 2, even less voted … approx 20%.  Again in this situation, advance polls were available, extended voting hours and many opportunities given, but yet people didnt show up.  I dont think that by changing the system from its current incarnation to MMP or another system will help.

The problem is people dont want to vote.  Again, many feel that their vote doesnt count.  Hopefully after reading this, they might change their opinion.  We need to find out why people arent voting and work at it from that angle…not changing the system so that we end up losing local representation in some ridings by having some political party people sitting in a seat and speaking out on our behalf.

Lets have that discussion soon.  A federal election is looming in the next few months quite possibly and given the current state of affairs and the minority government in place, our vote counts even more.

Lights at Thompson and Yates Drive

There are a few sources of information available for Milton residents on the internet.  If you need a good source of local information and news in a one stop shop, you can go to www.miltonsearch.com where they update almost daily on the happenings around town.

One other site that I go to, which I highly recommend, is www.hawthornevillager.com

On this site theres some great background information for one of Hawthorne Village’s first residents and the process it took to build a brand new home.  Great read.

Also included on his site is a forum for not just HV residents, but all residents of Milton.  Its a great source of information on your local community, whats happening around the area, and where residents can vent, complain, and ask for help on a number of items.

One of the many concerns in Hawthorne Village (Ward 1 mainly) is traffic.  While campaigning last year, that issue ranked number one as most residents were concerned about stop signs, traffic flow, and lights.

If anyone drives down Thompson Road south of Derry, you will find there to be a high level of traffic at Yates Drive.  Those who live on the west side of Thompson on Yates have found it increasingly difficult to turn north or south without taking their lives in their hands.  Many residents have asked for and demanded a stop light be installed.

After several months planning through the Town of Milton, it was decided and approved recently that there will be lights installed at this location.  Regional Councillor Colin Best confirmed in a post on the HV forum that construction should be starting soon with a targeted finishing date of October 27th.

I know I can speak on behalf of many residents in that area both east and west on Yates that this is a welcome development.

You can find the post here on the HV website.  While youre at it, register to post and introduce yourself.

Community Road Watch

With the new school term beginning and the almost in synch complaints about peoples “bad driving” running rampant throughout the town this article by Halton Region Chair Gary Carr is quite timely.

Many people I spoke with during the last municipal campaign talked very passionately about road safety. In fact it was one of the core parts of my campaign. Unlike some other candidates I ran on issues that were important to Miltonians and had a plan of action for each. For every resident I talked to, I always brought up this organization as the ones to contact and find out more information. Road safety is very important…even more now that we have our kids walking through the streets to the bus stops and along the sidewalks to school.

We have all experienced it. The car speeding down the street at an obviously high rate of speed with what we all assume to be reckless abandon while a number of students are trying to cross the street to get to the school bus. I live on Yates Drive at March Crossing and I seen my share of speeders. Many of them not realizing that they are driving at excessive speeds or if they do notice, they don’t seem to care.

Many people plead from their porches and from the sidewalks to those who feel it necessary to exceed the speed limit on our residential streets and endanger the lives and safety of all of us, but most importantly our children. Those pleas go unheard.

The police cant be at every street corner in every part of town, although at times we would like nothing better than to see those who break the law get punished. The Community Road Watch program is set up for just this reason.

It really shouldn’t have to come to this but here’s what you can do. Thanks to Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr for including this in his recent guest column in the Oakville Beaver.

Participating in Road Watch
Gary Carr, Guest Columnist

Published on Sep 08, 2007

As the Chair of Halton Region, I have the pleasure to sit on the Board of the Halton Region Police Service (HRPS).

As a member of the police service board, I have the opportunity to hear about the community programs HRPS is involved in with the community, as well as their ideas for new projects that would benefit our community.

One very exciting project currently being run in Halton Region is the Community Road Watch program.

This is a community-operated program that gives residents the opportunity to report aggressive and unsafe drivers through a Citizen Report Form to police.

Here’s how the citizen report is processed:

The first time a citizen report is received, an information letter is sent by the police to the registered owner of the vehicle explaining that their vehicle was observed being operated in an unsafe manner at a specific time and location, and asks them to remember to drive safely on Halton roadways.

If the vehicle owner was not driving their vehicle, it is their responsibility to speak with the person who was.

The second time a citizen report is received on the same registered owner, a repeat letter is sent from the police with the potential for personal contact from a police officer to address the problem.

A third report against an owner will result in a third letter and a personal visit from a police officer.

If you observe a dangerous act of aggressive driving on the roads in Halton Region, please consider taking the time to submit a Citizen Report Form.

You can fill out the form online, or place a completed form in one of the secure drop boxes that are located throughout the community at participating police stations, businesses and libraries.

Copies of the form can be faxed to the Halton Region Police Service at 905-845-0381.

The information you provide in the reports is held in strict confidence by Halton Regional Police and you will remain unidentified.

Please fill out the forms as completely as possible to provide the police with the most information possible.

All completed forms are picked up on a regular basis and verified by the police for accuracy. I encourage you to participate in this program and help to keep Halton streets safe from dangerous and aggressive driving.

To fill out a Citizen Report Form, or for more information about the Community Road Watch program, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service at 905-825-4777 — South Halton; 905-878-5511 – North Halton, or visit the website at www.hrps.on.ca.