$5.4-million road reconstruction for St. Clair and Lite streets
Proposed plans for one of the biggest road reconstructions in village history will be explained at a public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Point Edward Community Hall.
Work along Lite Street and St. Clair Street from Michigan Avenue to Front Street, is scheduled to begin this summer. Details will be provided at the meeting, which will be run like an open house between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Both roads are among the busiest in Point Edward and have generated many complaints about traffic and speed over the years.
The proposed plan involves ripping them up to replace aging underground infrastructure. When new asphalt and sidewalks are built, they will be designed to create a safer environment for vehicles and pedestrians, according to an online slide presentation by MIG Engineering.
Several intersections with St. Clair at Charles, Albert and Helena will be rebuilt at a 90 degree angle for improved visibility.
“Bulb Outs” are proposed at intersections along St. Clair to reduce speed and shorten pedestrian crossing lengths. And the new road will be put on a “diet,” which is a relatively new method of reducing lanes and slowing traffic.
A new pedestrian crossing is planned midway along St. Clair where the Bluewater Bridge maintenance building is located.
And multi-use paths for cyclists will run along St. Clair and Lite streets from Veteran’s Memorial Park to Front Street.
Preliminary estimates put the cost of reconstruction at $4.7 million, although the job won’t be tendered until March or April. Another $707,000 is being spent on design and drawings.
Following the public meeting, residents’ comments will be taken under consideration before council finalizes the plan. Construction is expected this spring and summer.
Preliminary drawings are now online, available by visiting : https://www.villageofpointedward.com/news-information/ and clicking on the Notices and News Releases section.
A burning question: New rules proposed for Point Edward fire pits
The bylaw involving a favourite village pastime is being rewritten and will impact rules related to backyard campfires.
Village officials say a neighbour dispute prompted a review of Point Edward’s open air burning bylaw that lays out when a bonfire is legal and when it must be extinguished.
The new proposed bylaw includes a checklist of what is permissible so that firefighters can easily determine if the bylaw has been contravened, said village CAO Jim Burns.
Currently, the legality of a fire is up to the opinion of fire officials. Village council wants it to be “black and white,” rather than discretionary, Burns said. The proposed checklist has eight points modelled after the Sarnia open air burning bylaw. If one item on the checklist is not met, a fire will be shut down.
The checklist specifies, in part, that a recreational backyard fire will:
• be no larger than 3 feet x 3 feet;
• be at least three metres in all directions from combustible structures or adjacent properties; and
• be supervised at all times.
There’s also the question of who can be fined. Currently, anyone with an illegal backyard fire can be fined $400 per truck per hour if the fire department shows up. However, Burns said no one has ever been fined as far as he knows.
The new proposed bylaw retains the possibility of a fine handed to anyone with a fire that doesn’t meet legal criteria. But it also would allow anyone making “nuisance” calls to be fined.
“The first time we’ll likely give you a pass but if we are called again with a nuisance call, you may be charged a fee,” said Burns.
He said cooking fires in a small confined grill or barbecue will continue to be legal as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the bylaw.
The new bylaw was subject to public input in December and attracted considerable response online. Among the publics’ concerns is whether the new bylaw takes into account smoke, smell and embers that migrate onto an adjacent property. The proposed bylaw and public comments can be viewed at: https://www.villageofpointedward.com/news-information/.
The village’s fire committee will discuss the new bylaw again at its next meeting Feb. 14.
Coun. Greg Grimes said he intends to ask for additional public input.
“I think we have to do this right,” he said, “and I’m not sure people have had enough time to comment.”
Grimes said a number of residents have said a bylaw isn’t required because “we’re all good neighbours.”
“But the fire department shouldn’t be dragged into a neighbour dispute, so we need to give them the right tool to make a decision (about whether a fire is legal),” the councillor said. “We need to be sure the bylaw is fair to everyone.”
It’s not likely council will vote on a new bylaw for several months but the hope is to have one in place by spring, said Burns.