St. Davids residents are preparing their wish list for the new council, with safety at the top of it.
Greg Dell, president of the ratepayers’ association representing the village, says candidates made all kinds of promises leading up to the election, “and we’re not going to let them off the hook.”
They plan to take their requests to the first business meeting of new councillors, hoping some of their issues will become priorities, he said.
At the top of the list, he said, is asking for a community safety zone to protect pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles travelling through the village. It would allow for speeding fines to be doubled, thus providing strong motivation for motorists to slow down.
Betty Disero, now lord mayor-elect, made a motion as a councillor last year to approve the community safety zone, but was defeated.
Residents believe the signs notifying drivers of the fine-doubling zone will raise awareness and increase safety for the community, he said, with research showing it works well in towns across Canada. It would also allow the village to have more policing for enforcement, he added.
“It’s very inexpensive and simple to do, with signs drivers will see as they get to the community. We want to make our community a safe place for our residents to live and to work.”
Heritage preservation is also on their list of asks. Villagers are hoping for a St. Davids Heritage District, which would put some restrictions on future development, limited to frontages on York Road and Four Mile Creek Road, within the urban boundary, said Dell. The ratepayers association put together a proposal, and last fall, council agreed to have the Municipal Heritage Committee look into it. “But after that, nothing happened. In my opinion, it was considered an expense.”
The MHC wanted to hire an expert to study it, but it was shelved because of the cost, he said.
The ratepayers association isn’t looking for designation under the heritage act, which puts strict controls on changes to existing buildings, he said. Residents just want any new development that occurs within that area “to complement what we already have. We want to protect our community heritage, and this is the way to do it.”
Although grinder pumps were mentioned during the election campaign — a concern and an expense only in St. Davids, as they were considered necessary for about 90 home owners as part of the sewer system installed about 15 years ago — Dell said the issue today is to ensure new developments don’t rely on them as part of any future sewer installations.“We would work with developers to instead put in a pumping station or a system that doesn’t require grinder pumps.”
Next on their list is a new pool. Last summer, residents were warned the St. Davids Pool, built by the Lions Club and donated to the Town decades ago, was failing and might not last the season. Council recommended $100,000 be put aside for a consultant to determine what villagers want to see on that property as a replacement. The message during the election campaign was loud and clear — residents want a new pool, and councillors all said they will have one.
“We want to remind them of that,” said Dell, “and we want to be partners.”
The ratepayers association wants to talk about a community centre that could provide activities for all ages, as part of an overall plan for the York Road property, and would also involve the St. Davids Lions Club in the discussion, he said.
St. Davids residents are also hoping the new council can push the Region to resolve increasing traffic that is creating logjams at the intersection of York and Four Mile Creek roads. There has been talk of a roundabout, but whatever the final solution is, Dell said, it needs to be moved along.
“We’re very excited about the new council. We’ve met with most of them, and they understandably want to get working. We’re optimistic things will begin to happen.”