SDG – Counties councillors were looking for answers from SDG staff about the feedback process for the upcoming Morrisburg Roundabout and Street-Scape project at the October 19th SDG Council meeting.
Both councillors from South Dundas, Steven Byvelds and Kirsten Gardner wanted to know what was happening with the promised feedback process that was to take place once the plan was close to being tendered.
As reported in the October 14th edition of The Leader, the project is slated to be put out for tender in November. That didn’t sit well with the South Dundas representatives.
“There was a promise by South Dundas council that we would go back and ask for comments when the project reached 95,” said Byvelds referring to the design reaching a 95 per cent completion point.
“There are still concerns that people want to see the final blueprint and I would say 99 per cent would be in favour of it. But if any of them want to see any tweaks, now is the time to do it.”
Director of Transportation and Planning Services Ben deHaan replied that the Counties has a dedicated website with the de- signs as they currently are.
“We have put a bit more messaging there with respect to comments,” deHaan said. “We did have an intention to do something a little more public-facing, but the challenge is we are in a pandemic and can’t be meeting face- to-face.”
He explained that the Counties has sent out information by mail to affected businesses along County Road 2 regarding the plan, but was open to more communication regarding the project.
Byvelds suggested that Counties staff present the plans as they are now as a delegation to an up- coming South Dundas council meeting.
“You won’t make everybody happy with the plan,” he said. “But the whole plan is going to change Morrisburg visually, a once in a lifetime change that if there are any tweaks that make sense, this is the opportunity to do it.”
He said he didn’t want to delay the project, rather just make sure that the Counties has done every- thing it needed to communicate with the public.
“I think that there is some good work being done but that good work is not being connected to what the communication was out to the public,” Gardner added. “When you say finalized, but you still have staff that are reaching out and having discussions.”
She said that the communications strategy needed to be “tighter”.
“The communication strategy, especially on social media, the wording needs to match the actions.”
deHaan said his challenge was that if there were concerns the Counties would answer those concerns but he didn’t want to be going back to discussing the merits of stop lights versus roundabouts.
“We’re at the phase of the project where we don’t want to be redesigning it,” deHaan said. “I don’t want the message to get out there that we can change lots of things because that’s not the real- ity either.”
Gardner said she wanted to see consistent messaging from when the project consultation started carried through.
“I’m just looking for consistency,” she said.