The Irony of Council’s Obsession

Oh, the delicious irony. A council that has been so obsessed with the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (aka the SVJI) at the expense of everything important in this town is suddenly now all aflutter over traffic calming and street safety. Yeah, right…

Since they were first elected, our myopic councillors have done nothing about our streets, about walkability, pedestrian safety, traffic calming, or bicycle lanes — much less fix our decaying pavement and crumbling sidewalks. In fact, since most of them were on the previous council, their egregious inactivity on these issues extends back more than six years. But who’s counting, eh?

All their time and effort this term has been focused on promoting Mayor Saunderson’s vendetta against the people who thwarted his personal ambition, back in 2012. Undeterred by the evident pettiness of such efforts, they’ve been happily lavishing huge amounts of taxpayers’ money on it (more than $10 million since 2015, if council was honest in its accounting)! Money that could have paid for a lot of traffic and street improvements to make our streets safer. Instead, we got a digital report about events that took place a decade or so ago that the public doesn’t give a damn about.

But now one of their friends has been injured! Council is rushing into action. Well, okay: stumbling, Lurching. Blundering and bumbling from one crisis to another (like they have done with our water, ignored by them for as many years as our streets have been). The story in the Cwood Connection was about Margaret Mooy being hit by an SUV while walking on a side street:

“I was part way across Fourth Street and all I remember is sensing this big shadow coming at me from my left, and next thing I was on the ground in pain,” she said in an interview with Simcoe.com. “I’m lucky to have come out of it with no internal injuries and no brain damage.”
Mooy had been hit by an SUV. She suffered several fractures, a broken pelvis and a serious shoulder injury. She spent nine days in hospital and has been confined to the main floor of her home.

And in response, after years of ignoring safety issues on our streets, council boldly sprang into thinking about possibly engaging in the  likelihood of perhaps considering to weigh the possibilities of acting:

At the May 10 meeting of the development and operations standing committee, Mooy spoke about the need for speed-limit reductions. She said the “tree streat” [sic] area — which encompasses Pine, Maple, Beech, Birch Oak, Cedar, Walnut, Hickory and Spruce streets — should be a community safety zone with a 40-kilometre-per-hour limit.
The committee voted to receive a traffic-calming policy, which formalizes a process to implement a series of measures to curb traffic speeds.
When considering traffic calming, staff will look at a variety of criteria, including the collision history of the street, pedestrian activity and traffic volumes.

Bravely avoiding any sort of actual commitment to Doing Something Useful, our doughty councillors thrust the incentive back into the hands of staff in the expectation someone competent will offer a solution. Which will no doubt arrive several months down the road in a PowerPoint presentation written in big fonts with limited bullet points, read aloud slowly to our reading-averse councillors, and highlighted with Pie Charts. 

And while staff are trying to deal with the things that actually matter to residents, like street safety, our council can swing back into somnolence, cuddling their SVJI in dreamy bliss as the real world moves on around them.

I wish Margaret a speedy recovery, but hope she’s not expecting her friends on council to actually do anything substantial this term. Sure, they might receive a report, but reports require reading and thinking and making a commitment. Better to place your hopes in a future council where those activities might manifest, and optimism in an informed commitment is not wasted. 

Collingwood deserves better.

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