I hope you enjoyed your summer and even more importantly this gorgeous fall we were enjoying, until last week’s snowfall!
COVID-19, and how we are adapting to it, is on everyone’s minds and in most of the conversations I have. We are still seeing a huge impact in our workplaces, our schools and how we play. I’d like to highlight a few things that are happening locally related (even if loosely!)….
1. Springbank’s own dog off leash area. Located on Municipal Reserve – we have a 5 acre parcel that is not being utilized. We received MSI funding from the province which will allow us to utilize these lands to the benefit of all local residents (exactly what MR land is supposed to do!). The park is fully fenced, with a larger area for larger dogs and a smaller area for little ones. There will be a small parking lot (about 20 cars). The park is located on Township Road 245, just west of the Den’s, and opened mid-October. So how is this COVID-19 related? Well, a nice outdoor activity, meeting with your friends, two and four legged, to walk, play and enjoy a space in your own community is a great stress reliever!
2. Pathways – we have many “informal” pathways in Division 2 that residents have been enjoying for years, but even more so now. Many of these are located on private lands, and can be found primarily closer to the river (Elbow & Bow). The good news is that more people are enjoying these hidden treasures, however the bad news is that because of poor behaviour, some of these have now been locked off from the public.
Leaving garbage behind, having parties, loud music, illegal camping, etc. eliminates these spaces one by one from our community. Because these are on private lands, the land owners have every right to close. So please don’t do things that make this happen.
Pick up your trash, respect that these spaces are gifts, or we will lose them – and in fact we have lost some already.
3. Traffic!!! Can anyone else say traffic jam between the middle and high school in the morning and afternoons? I suspect because of COVID-19 concerns, fewer students are riding on the buses and more in cars. In fact, RV Schools has a 3000 student decrease in bus ridership, but not a 3000 student decrease in student numbers! This is causing mayhem on 33 a couple of times a day. If you are picking up/dropping off – you may be finding alternate places to do that vs. the actual school parking lot. This is especially true at the high school, requiring students to cross 33 to the west soccer field parking lot. Unfortunately, because of the long line up of buses turning into the high school, there is no visibility for cars to see if kids are in the cross walk. I personally witnessed a student just narrowly missed, and I have received many calls regarding this problem, too. This is a situation we can all contribute to solving. I have spoken with RVC about getting some flashing pedestrian lights at that crosswalk and that is possible, but the type we need (beacon/solar/ability to press to activate) come from the USA and are back ordered, so this could take a bit of time. I’ll also be talking to the school about traffic control in/out of the school and perhaps some volunteers that could actually act as traffic control in that area. Parents, perhaps have your student wait 10 or 15 minutes after class is out so that some of the congestion can clear. Also, I know that entering/exiting the high school parking lot at certain times of days is chaotic, but having students cross a congested road with limited visibility is dangerous – so perhaps (please) pick up in the parking lot. We can avoid an accident if we can all do our part. I have also asked for additional enforcement at these times of the day.
4. High Speed Internet – I wish I could say that we have made great strides on this – we haven’t, but incrementally we are having more conversations, meeting with providers, holding workshops and collectively trying to figure this out. We have providers that will come and even make a small contribution into the capital investment, but right now the remainder would be on residents to pick up. A recent example we looked at (with real information) would add about $200/mth to people’s residential tax bill for upwards of 10 years – so this not likely the best solution. The main cost of getting fibre is running the conduit down the side of the road (trenching) – so we are look at our road policies to do this when we work on a road – we could get to every road eventually, but maybe not fast enough for those communities in need today. We could try to get Federal grant dollars (we are) but unfortunately the CRTC already thinks we all have access to the minimums (50 mbps down/ 10 mbps up) – but very few of us have those speeds so we need to get that information corrected somehow. We will also be looking at making it a requirement for developers to add these conduits (just like deep services) as a part of the development agreements, and for those developments that are bringing in services – make it a requirement that service be offered to those along the path (for a connection fee), we have lots of ideas about how to tackle this elephant – we will get there, it will just take continued focus and priority on the part of RVC and Council. I also think that you can do your part – call/write these big players and demand the service. If they hear from enough of us – I think they’ll start to listen! This Council continues to examine all possibilities.
Finally, not COVID-19 related, but I’ve received a number of calls regarding the Webber Lands between RR 32 & RR 33, south of Springbank Road and the development that is happening. I don’t have a lot of information, but a conceptual scheme (Springbank Creek Conceptual Scheme) was approved in October, 2013. This called for a Private School Campus, associated school fields, some residential and likely a few other things. Webber has purchased the entire parcel (570 +/- acres) and is continuing on with the already approved conceptual scheme. They are modifying it, though, mainly the location of designated cells and this will come to Council as a public hearing this fall. On October 6th Council will consider 1st reading and if that passes, the public will be notified and a hearing will be scheduled. It is important to note that these lands have land use and could be built exactly how it was approved originally. My understanding is they are focused on building the sports fields first, then sometime in the next 3/5/10 years a new high school campus. I don’t know about the residential component, but at every development stage, should Council ultimately approve the changes to concept scheme, the public will be engaged.
Councillor, Division 2