Stop removing road signs, SD&G staff told

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – County council has made it clear to the transportation and planning department – stop taking down directional road signs until there’s a policy.

The concern was brought by Coun. Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) after signs notifying drivers of upcoming intersections by name or road number were “missing.”

Transportation Director Ben de Haan answered that the county was following Ontario sign standards after inheriting Old Highway 2 (now County Road 2) from the province and was creating an “operational efficiency” while saving taxpayers money.

A number of councillors believe the signs should stay, such as Coun. Allan Armstrong, who remarked that “anything that indicates to me that the road that I’m looking for is upcoming is a boon,” and also keeps drivers’ eyes on the road.

But Coun. Frank Landry (North Stormont) felt there’s a “new era” where people don’t look at signs anymore and they are “losing the concept of looking at a sign.”

“There’s these people today that do not look at signs. They wait until that lady that’s stuck in my dash(board) that tells me to recalculate and make a legal U-turn when possible,” Landry said.

Staff have been told to cease and desist with removing signs until de Haan brings back a policy for review and approval by council.

In other council news:

  • A section of County Road 18 in Martintown at the intersection of County Road 20 will be rebuilt instead of doing a microsurfacing treatment. There is underground contamination from an old gas station. The county will only be responsible for cleanup to the property line and the section will be walled off underground to prevent any spread from the site. The county recently got a Federal Gas Tax top-up of nearly $2 million and some of that money may go to this project. A plan to spend the gas tax cash will come to a June tender meeting (see below).
  • The county is having a tough time finding students to cut grass along county roads. There are six positions starting at $15 per hour. Despite offering a job to everyone who applied, only two positions were filled. It may result is less trimming around signs and hamlets this summer unless the county can get some high school students to work. Council heard that it’s a growing trend of students not taking those summer jobs.
  • The county will hold a special meeting in June to award some timely tenders. Those include the Morrisburg roundabout and streetscape plan.
  • Replacing the roof on the county administration building at Pitt Street and Water Street in Cornwall has been approved as an over-budget expense. With the fancier slate-style shingles, the work will cost $72,750 – over the $60,000 budget. The extra dollars will be taken from a rainy day account for building repairs.
  • Heavy trucks won’t be permitted through Alexandria’s downtown core during summer and fall. County council gave final approval Monday to the restrictions from June 1 to Nov. 1 on County Road 34 in North Glengarry between County Road 10 and County Road 46. It only applies to through traffic – not deliveries to the downtown. The step is part of a larger plan to transform Main Street.
  • County staff unveiled a new $50,000 SD&G website to councillors on Monday and gave them a walk-through of all the new features.
  • No bites on renovating the Warden’s House. The county didn’t get any bids to do structural and electrical work. Transportation Director Ben de Haan suggested it might be due to contractors being too busy or the value of work was “not worth it for them.” SD&G will piecemeal the work through a less onerous requests for quotations (RFQ). It’s estimated the work on the Warden’s House will cost $181,000 to renovate it for badly-needed office space.