By way of motion, humps dumped in Cherry Valley

IN THE SLOW LANE-Local farmer, Cailan Raistrick, quickly discovered some of his farm machinery could not handle the new speed bumps in Cherry Valley. (Submitted photo)

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

“Easy come, easy go” for the newly installed speed humps in Cherry Valley. Thanks to a petition that garnered close to 1,000 signatures, several recently installed humps in the hamlet will be removed after considerable debate during the December 14 regular council meeting. Prince Edward County Council voted in favour of removing the humps as soon as possible.

The humps were installed the week of December 5 as part of a pilot project intended to find ways to deter reckless behaviour on county roads.

In light of the local temperature toward the pilot project, Athol Councillor Sam Branderhorst tabled an amendment at the beginning of the council meeting so that the issue could be discussed.

Scores of Cherry Valley locals packed Highline Hall and dialed in online to speak out against the project. Jeff Rankin, a local farmer, was one such speaker.

Rankin voiced concern that some of his farm machinery would be unable to handle the speed humps.

“It’s regrettable we weren’t aware of this sooner. I operate a cash crop business, the nature of which requires I drive through Cherry Valley regularly with double drop low boy trailers that I strongly suspect will contact the speed humps as I travel,” said Rankin. “In addition, I travel through the valley with grain wagons that carry thirteen metric tons of grain or more and many different pieces of field equipment-none of which were designed to encounter speed humps.”

Rankin commented that the continual starting and stopping due to the humps would undoubtedly cause a traffic gridlock and unwanted noise for residents.

Furthermore, he asserted that either his vehicles or the speed humps will ultimately be damaged.

“I have talked to my insurance company, and they assured me that they will pass the claim onto the County,” said Rankin.

Other locals voiced concern for emergency situations, wherein ambulances are hindered from getting to their destination as quickly as possible.

“I’m worried about the ambulances having to go through,” said Linda Denard. “Why not install radars?”

Tanya Logan, who lives in the Valley and initiated the petition, noted she has witnessed more speeding since the speed humps were installed.

“This has quite serious implications to all people who drive,” said Logan. “I live right on the main road and what I’ve seen happening is more people speeding when they cross the three way stop by the store.”

Logan added she had been in touch with ambulance services and noted they indicated they had not been consulted.

Yet another resident, Suzanne Juby, questioned whether the impact to tourism-let alone the wear and tear on individual vehicles-had been considered.

“We love Cherry Valley too much to have something being done like this without our say, without our voice. It wasn’t fair,” stated Juby. “What effect will they have on trucks, visitors, brakes, suspension etc? County Road 10 leads to so many attractions. Was tourism given a thought?”

Juby noted she had contacted a previous Athol councillor and been told there was not the tax base to support bike lanes or road improvements.

“He declared we don’t have tax base to support this, yet you have $30,000 dollars to throw away?” queried Juby.

After listening to the various public complaints regarding the speed humps, Branderhorst put a resolution on the floor to discontinue the pilot project and remove the speed humps as soon as possible. Furthermore, she added that traffic volume and speeding concerns should be explored by the appropriate advisory committee and the OPP with a report expected back to council in April 2023.

Councillor Nieman attempted to provide clarity on the situation, pointing out that there is a distinct difference between speed humps and speed bumps. While the County ordered the former, Nieman asserted, the latter is what has been installed. Unfortunately, as per Nieman, this difference accounts for the substantial difference in elevation between what council expected to be delivered and what residents are decrying.

“Just to clarify, we’re using two words-speed hump and speed bump. There is a difference. What is there right now is a bump,” said Nieman. “What you have with that is an elevation change with a crown on it. A hump is a change in elevation of maybe an inch and a half. It’s flat with no crown. What we have is speed bumps, whereas we asked for speed humps.”

With speeding through Cherry Valley being a known problem, and the money already having been spent on installing the speed humps, Nieman argued it was more worthwhile to attempt to grind down the humps so that they’re more in line with what was expected.

“Speeding is an issue through cherry valley. The OPP have said this….what we have to do is make them what they’re supposed to be,” said Nieman.

Several councillors still voiced concern about maintaining any form of speed hump or bump, given the impediment they proved to be for farmers.

“Farming is paramount in the county. I’ve read the correspondence we’ve been sent and certainly understand the anxieties that people have about damage to equipment, not getting crops moved in timely fashion. However, I also understand the rationale for trying to find a solution to lower speeds,” expressed Hillier Councillor Chris Braney. “I do support Branderhorst’s resolution and feel she has a really good pulse on her community and what they’re trying to strive for.”

Councillor Phil Prinzen also expressed support for Branderhorst’s resolution and apologized for wasting taxpayer’s money.

“It was confirmed to me yesterday that maybe these weren’t the best idea when I went through the valley and the vehicle in front of me, no word of a lie, drove around them on the sidewalk,” said Prinzen. “So, would you rather have a vehicle going 50 km/hour or someone potentially being hit on the side of the road? For these reasons, yes, I’m sorry for wasting taxpayer money…we will do better. Ultimately, if this does get supported, it will cost a few more dollars. For that I am deeply sorry. They do need to be removed. I thought they’d work better than they do.”