Medway Valley Heritage Forest ESA
The Metamora Staircase in the Medway Valley Heritage Forest Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) has reached its end of life. (Funding for its construction was a ratepayer project in the 90s). The City has formed a Trails Focus Group (TFG). Sandy Levin is participating in the group as part of our Adopt An ESA group. At the second TFG meeting in February City Staff will bring the staircase forward for discussion including any issues around funding, and the sensitivity of the slope and the natural features of the area. City staff and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority staff (who manage the Forest under contract with the City), will make a site visit this month and post some signs for a temporary trail closure at this location. Councillor Squire is aware of this issue.
Sarnia and Western Road Intersection
The City is still evaluating options for this intersection and in discussions with Western University.
The preferred option will be presented at a public meeting later this year. City staff have told us they have heard loud and clear your concerns about the potential for new cut through traffic if an exit from the Springett Parking Lot is permitted into the area. Whatever they do will be a big project as the City budget shows this project at just over $2 million over 2016 and 2017 (90% of this will be funded from development charges).
Other Road Works
As you probably already know, Sarnia between Wonderland and Sleightholme will be widened this year. There will also be work on Western Road south of Platt’s Lane starting this year and running until 2018. At times during the latter project, the passage under the tracks just north of Oxford will be closed. Be prepared for traffic disruptions.
Looking a few years out, Wonderland Road will be widened again to 6 lanes in phases. The City’s capital plan calls for the work to start in 2023 from Riverside Drive and working its way north.
City Budget and Sherwood Forest Park
In the City’s capital budget that was tabled this week, $250,000 is budgeted for Sherwood Forest Park in 2020. This is not a certainty as future budget items are not formally approved in the current year. Councillor Squire is aware that waiting 4 years may not be reasonable for the community, however, any changes to the budget require a majority of Council members to agree. Meanwhile, the RFP for the development adjacent to the future park site is planned to be issued later this year.
New Traffic Law
A new law about crosswalks with lights (technically called “crossovers”) came into effect across Ontario on Jan. 1, and breaking it could bring a fine of up to $500. At crossovers (like the one on Western Road near Oxford) and school crossing zones with guards, drivers must now wait until pedestrians have completely stepped off the road before they can continue on their way. Hitting the gas too soon could bring a fine between $150 and $500 – double when the offence happens at a school crosswalk