An intersection, the Ontario government has flagged as needing improvements to manage traffic and transportation over the next 20 years, is causing unrest in a small community near Peterborough.
The recommendations that are being looked at for the intersection of Highway 7A and County Road 10 through the heart of the hamlet of Cavan, have major impacts on those living there.
“I think it’s an unnecessary fix on what they’ve proposed,” said Rosalinde Douma, a resident of Cavan for 30 years. “Do I think somethings can be done to improve it that won’t damage the heritage of this hamlet? Absolutely.”
Right now the intersection has a slight jog through it connecting County Road 10 on the north and south side of Highway 7A.
Traffic is controlled by a four-way stop, with flashing lights on some of the signs.
In an email to Global News Peterborough late Tuesday afternoon, the Ministry of Transportation stated the existing traffic volumes at the intersection are reaching capacity for a stop sign.
The short-list of alternatives that the province was looking at included adding traffic signals to the existing intersection or building a roundabout.
Both of those options were dropped.
The three remaining alternatives that the province is carrying forward to the next step include traffic signals and some form of realignment of the intersection.
One of those options would see five to ten houses impacted, including Douma’s, with the north side of County Road 10 realigned to the west.
“We have lovingly restored our home to its original purposes which was built in 1891,” Douma added. “It’s going to also affect the wetlands in the area. It affects numerous families and the outlook of what our little hamlet looks like and wipes it out.”
Douma tells Global News Peterborough the traffic isn’t that big of a problem here but there have been some collisions over the years.
Her husband Howard says adding traffic lights will create volume problems through the community.
“What I suggested was a flashing light, or amber light, over the intersection, a larger stop sign and a sign down the road that says ‘stop sign down the road’ with something flashing,” he said.
“It’s cheaper and will make everyone here happier. Tearing out all of these houses because of a provincial problem isn’t going to sit well with this community.”
The other option would see the Ultramar gas bar and store on the south-east corner of the intersection torn down to realign the south side of County Road 10 to the east.
“Removal of any homes is overkill,” said Al Steel, a nearby resident. “If you look at the history of the problem that precipitated the study in the first place, it’s really minor compared to the inconvenience of those displaced or the community of having to wait for lights, whereas today, it’s just stopping and going.”
The Ministry of Transportation held a public consultation in January, although the residents say they received notice of the session after the fact.
Right now, the process is in the early stages and the ministry states a preferred design hasn’t been selected so it’s unknown how many, if any, homes will be impacted by the potential realignment.
As for timelines, there are none for the implementation of an approved plan, which will be developed at the end of the preliminary design and environmental assessment, the ministry stated.
The mayor of the Township of Cavan Monaghan says council was blindsided by the realignment proposal.
“I found out about the intersection realignment a few days before our council meeting went public, last week,” said Mayor Scott McFadden. “It was certainly very concerning to all of a sudden come forward with a drastic realignment proposal that would seriously impact the intersection.”
McFadden, who also sits on Peterborough County council as one of two representatives of the township, says the county was not consulted despite County Road 10 being a county road.
“It’s a complete realignment of County Road 10 and for us to not be consulted or involved, and county councillors have no idea this late in the process, is very concerning.”
McFadden says he brought it to the county council’s attention last week and that staff are now looking into it to find out background.
“It’s very concerning when they (the province) move ahead with a process without proper notification,” he said.
McFadden also said it was concerning the province has already removed options without what he called adequate consultation.
“Before the township, the county, or those homes that will be affected were truly notified, they’ve already eliminated the roundabout and the straight signalization, which has zero impact on properties, from the equation. They’ve left realignments — all three have drastic impacts.”
The Township has requested a meeting with Caroline Mulroney, the province’s minister of transportation.
A second public information session will be planned once the evaluation of alternatives has been completed and a recommended plan has been developed.