Town council wants further discussions with business owners on Sandwich St. relining

 

Although the town approved realigning Sandwich St. into a three-lane highway at its July 14 meeting, that may not end up being the case. Council reconsidered that motion Aug. 11 and are now asking the traffic engineer to re-examine the issue.

Although the town approved realigning Sandwich St. into a three-lane highway at its July 14 meeting, that may not end up being the case. Council reconsidered that motion Aug. 11 and are now asking the traffic engineer to re-examine the issue. At its Sept. 8 meeting, the town voted to have administration discuss the wishes of business owners who have issues with the three-lane proposal.

By Ron Giofu

 

The issue of how to reline Sandwich St. came before town council again Monday night with that decision not made by the town’s elected officials.

Town council has asked administration to meet with the business owners who have complained and try to “see what we can come up with,” according to Councillor Bart DiPasquale, who made the motion.

DiPasquale estimated there are “four or five” business owners along Sandwich St. that were concerned but CAO Mike Phipps asked for a list of business owners council wants administration to talk to.

Phipps said if some business owners get missed, “sure as shooting we’ll be back here in two weeks.”

DiPasquale said many of the business owners that contacted him were never notified or consulted prior to the town voting in July to make Sandwich St. a three-lane highway. That motion was rescinded Aug. 11.

“It’s going to affect their businesses,” said DiPasquale.

Councillor Diane Pouget said the business owners were told after the project went to tender that 53 parking spots along Sandwich St. would be removed and also feared a negative impact to small businesses in the area.

“That’s why we have to consult small businesses owners. They are the heart and soul of our community,” she said.

“I received six calls on Saturday alone from small business owners,” added Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland.

Sutherland was of the impression no one from the town contacted the owners and “it was my understanding someone was going to visit these places.”

Mayor Wayne Hurst noted the town employed a traffic engineer to tackle the issue and said the elected officials were not experts on the subject.

“The people sitting in these legislative chairs aren’t qualified to say what the traffic flow should be,” he said.

Councillor Bob Pillon believed the issue started when people started thinking Sandwich St. was a four-lane highway at the crosswalk in front of General Amherst High School and “it’s interrupted the whole town.

“It’s a shame this has come down to the eleventh hour,” added Pillon. “I have concerns too. I really believe we can’t hurt small business.”

Councillor Carolyn Davies questioned whether allowing loading zones in front of some of the concerned businesses would be a solution while Councillor John Sutton said they know what business owners want and that is parking at their businesses.

“The question is, what do we do?” said Sutton.

After the motion was passed, Pillon pressed for a final decision on the matter but Hurst told him the motion to discuss the matter further with impacted business owners had been passed.

“I understand you but that’s not this motion,” Hurst told Pillon.

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