Central Manitoulin to request OPP place portable radar unit on Hwy 551

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CENTRAL MANITOULIN – An animated debate took place at Central Manitoulin council during the March 12 meeting over a recommendation from the municipality’s roads committee to request the OPP set up a portable radar unit on Highway 551 between the Sparrow’s Nest apartment complex and the Mindemoya hospital on either the July 1 weekend or during the Pearson Cup on June 19-21.

The motion to put forward the request was moved by Councillor Dale Scott and seconded by Councillor Rose Diebolt. 

Councillor Derek Stephens began the debate. “We have been after them to reduce the speed limit, maybe move it out a bit to Ketchankookem Trail,” he said.

Councillor Rose Diebolt asked for clarification on whether that would be “before the motel. There is a lot of parking on both sides of the highway by the Grill and Chill.”

Councillor Dale Scott wondered if it would be possible for two units to be installed. “If we are having a problem in the 50 km zone where we are looking for a crosswalk,” he said. 

Councillor Al Tribinevicius asked if the unit keeps track of both numbers of vehicles and their speed. CAO Ruth Frawley responded that the unit does keep track of both.

“It is a very high-tech unit,” said Councillor Steve Shaffer. He pointed out that the data collected by the unit can be downloaded onto a USB stick. Councillor Shaffer, who sits on the Community Policing Advisory Committee, explained that the Manitoulin OPP Detachment’s unit is currently out for repairs and that there are a number of communities vying for its placement.

Later in the meeting Councillor Shaffer explained that the unit is part of a comprehensive program that involves a “media blitz” before the placing of the unit, the placement of the unit and then “they start ticketing people.”

Mayor Richard Stephens suggested that council should simply deal with the original motion and then, perhaps, pass a second motion seeking the alternate siting.

“We could do two motions,” agreed Councillor Scott.

“I don’t see any problem with adopting the original motion,” reiterated Mayor Stephens.

“I would like to see it at Ketchankookem,” interjected Councillor Stephens. “I just want people to slow down.”

“I agree,” said Councillor Diebolt. “Right there is where the traffic should slow down by the motel.”

Councillor Scott, who would have had to amend his original motion objected. “I don’t want (the original location) dropped,” he said. “I want to have it at the 50 kilometre (stretch entering town). I think it is really important in the future when elderly try to cross the road.”

“Why are we only worried about the elderly?” asked Councillor Diebolt.

Councillor Scott and Councillor Stephens agreed on a request that the radar unit be placed at two locations.

Mayor Stephens then cut short the debate and called the question. “Let’s do one thing at a time rather than six things at once,” he said.

Council voted on the motion and it was carried.

“You just by-passed me while I was in the process of amending my motion,” objected Councillor Scott.