Final decision on changing cul-de-sac in Glen Walter neighbourhood

The cul-de-sac at the end of Farlinger Drive in South Glengarry, Ont. on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The township has sided with residents and won't change the turning circle into a hammerhead to pacify a developer annoyed the area is used by smugglers. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

GLEN WALTER – South Glengarry council has made a final decision on the contentious issue of whether a cul-de-sac on Farlingers Point should be changed.

Residents of Farlinger Drive applauded council last week as it decided to do nothing to a turning circle at the end of the street that has been a popular transaction point for smugglers.

Willis MacEwan, the principal developer of the Farlingers Point subdivision, had asked the township in May to change the road design into a hammerhead from a turning circle – an option he was willing to pay for. The move sparked stiff opposition from the neighbourhood and a petition.

According to a township report, MacEwan wanted to “create a landscaping buffer area complete with security cameras and lighting that would reduce or eliminate the current level of unwanted activity on Farlinger Drive.”

Infrastructure General Manager Sarah McDonald said, from a township perspective, the turning circle works “effectively” for municipal vehicles. Hammerheads are “temporary measures” where a road will be extended in the future, she explained.

McDonald also pointed to advice from Ontario Provincial Police that some cedar trees be cleared out at the shoreline to eliminate a cover for criminal activity – a measure called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

In its decision last week, those on council said there was no research to suggest changing the street end to a hammerhead would deter illegal activity.

“I haven’t seen anything indicating that a hammerhead would reduce the amount of smuggling through that area,” Deputy Mayor Stephanie Jaworski said.

“We need to work with the OPP, we need to work with the residents in that area to ensure that we’re on top of the issue so we can do our part,” the deputy mayor added.

Coun. Martin Lang called the proposed changes a step back. “We have a good turning circle there. It’s paved. It has curbs. I’m not interested in going back to a hammerhead.”

Lang said someone would have to show a “concrete benefit” to change it to something that’s “harder for our (snow)plows, harder for our school buses.”

Mayor Lyle Warden said it makes the most sense to leave it as is because “there’s nothing that I’ve read that the hammerhead would make a difference.”

Coun. Sam McDonnell said the only way to stop the smuggling is to fence off the open portion where smugglers access the St. Lawrence River.

“I don’t see the point in spending lots of money whether it’s the township’s or whether it’s a member of the public’s money to redesign something that doesn’t need to be at this point.”

Coun. Rebecca Luck did not take part because she had a conflict of interest. She is employed by EVB Engineering – the firm hired by the developers proposing the hammerhead.