Editorial: Iroquois needs a ‘main street’ too

It has been five years since construction of the Iroquois Roundabout at County Roads 2 and 1 was completed and it has been over 12 years since the Iroquois Village Plaza was renovated with its new canopy and improvements. A lot has changed since those projects. New commercial and continued residential development on the north side of CR2 means more people and businesses will be located on that corridor. The popularity of the recent Iroquois Apple Fest event shows that the community can support large events. All this, combined with the expansion underway at Ross Video means there are, and will continue to be, more people around Iroquois.

The construction of the roundabout and streetscape in Morrisburg has shown a clear path to putting our best foot forward in providing a visually pleasing and safe “main street” in front of a village plaza. Multiple crosswalks, a multi-use pathway, curbing and proper turn lanes, are all great features for vehicle, cycling, and pedestrian traffic. What is in Morrisburg should be replicated in Iroquois.

The argument over who does what when it comes to maintenance of the Iroquois roundabout is finally close to being settled between the Municipality of South Dundas and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. A draft policy for which level of government does what, and which pays for it, once adopted, will give opportunities for future improvements to Iroquois, including a streetscape of its own.

Iroquois can really only grow north. There is a subdivision long planned that has sporadic construction occurring. Along CR2, a new mixed commercial/residential development will add many needed residences to the area. There is more vacant commercial land on this stretch of county road. Plus there is the Ross Video facility. All bring people to the area to work, live, or shop. The infrastructure on this section of road between Carman Road and Elizabeth Drive needs improvement to handle this growth. So it is time to put a ‘main street’ back in Iroquois.

The roundabout was the most expensive part of the Morrisburg project. Iroquois already has a roundabout. Improvements should be made to the centre of that roundabout to provide a better visual block for oncoming traffic, and a more uniform appearance to that of Morrisburg’s. A multi-use pathway spanning from the roundabout to Elizabeth Drive will reduce cyclist traffic on this 640 metre section of CR2 and provide a safe place for pedestrians to connect to the commercial, industrial, and residential development and the village plaza. Proper turning lanes for entering the plaza and the north side businesses, along with crosswalks installed on this section of road will improve safety. Factoring in the connection to Iroquois’ elementary and secondary schools this will also improve safety.

Just as Morrisburg lost its downtown with the St. Lawrence Seaway project, so too did Iroquois. Morrisburg now has a visually appealing ‘main street’ after over sixty years without one. The growth and potential for more growth, along with the current safety issues on CR2 justify advocating and constructing a streetscape project in Iroquois too.

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