Vincent Massey Drive roundabout fails over procedure; issue will come back

A sport utility vehicle gets ready to turn left off Vincent Massey Drive to Tollgate Road West on Sunday, April 11, 2021. A proposal by Coun. Dean Hollingsworth to get a roundabout into the 2022 budget failed to get support during a Monday, April 27, 2021 council meeting due to procedure. A number of councillors have indicated the intersection issue is not dead. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A Cornwall councillor’s attempt to get a roundabout on Vincent Massey Drive into next year’s budget failed to get support from his counterparts.

While many councillors during last night’s council meeting like the idea and admitted the intersection at Tollgate Road West is a problem with near-misses, they couldn’t support Coun. Dean Hollingsworth’s motion based on the wording and the timing.

The motion called for a “complete costing” and for it to be included as a submission into next year’s budget. Under a notice of motion, the resolution could not be altered in any way by amendment.

The city already has plans for roundabouts at Lemay Street and McConnell Avenue and Lemay Street and Sydney Street in the next two years.

While admitting the intersection is “awkward,” Infrastructure General Manager Michael Fawthrop told council the safety record is actually “very good” with an average of four collisions per year in the last five years. It’s “far outside” the top 25 of rates of collisions for Cornwall intersections.

While acknowledging the statistics, Coun. Dean Hollingsworth says it doesn’t take into account near-misses. “I’m getting calls from people about that corner. While I admit from a statistical perspective there are probably worse corners, but I haven’t got any phone calls from any other corners except that one.”

Fawthrop also explained that the area would have to go through an environmental assessment (EA) first and the city typically applies for funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) instead of putting the whole cost on the municipal taxpayer.

Fawthrop also says an EA might not choose a roundabout as a “preferred solution” for the intersection.

Coun. Justin Towndale supported the roundabout because it was doing something about the problem intersection. “It’s not just frustrating, I think it is dangerous. The owner of the business (at the corner) has uploaded multiple videos of accidents over the last year. It’s far more than one in five years.”

Coun. Eric Bergeron says it’s “a very dangerous corner, I don’t even let my daughter drive there.”

While it’s a “problematic” corner that she has “heard about for years,” Mayor Bernadette Clement says there’s a process that has to be followed.

A number of councillors indicated that even though the motion didn’t pass, they will bring the issue back to council to do an environmental study of the intersection.

Couns. Dupelle, Hollingsworth, Bennett and Towndale voted for the motion with the balance against.

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