Province dismisses Mono mayor’s speeding concerns

September 15, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By JAMES MATTHEWS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

John Creelman feels the Queen’s Park Tories have turned deaf ears toward voiced concerns about motorists’ safety in Mono.

Creelman, who was returned as Mono’s mayor by acclamation, received a reply to a missive he’d sent to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney in which he’d outlined concerns about reckless driving on Airport Road.

It’s a problem of which many Dufferin County motorists are aware. And, indeed, Mulroney has to be aware as well because Creelman has broached the subject repeatedly to her and others at the provincial legislature.

“The provincial government is not listening,” the mayor said. “A recent detailed letter and invitation to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney to personally witness reckless driving in Mono was completely rebuffed.”

He said it was his third letter to Mulroney.

In her response, Mulroney thanked Creelman for his request to “discuss various road safety issues impacting the Town of Mono,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, I’m unable to meet due to scheduling constraints.”

And she said in her letter that she “looks forward to connecting in the future.”

Creelman also invited Premier Doug Ford, Attorney General Doug Downey, and Health Minister Sylvia Jones, who is also MPP for Dufferin-Caledon, to check out for themselves what he describes as careless driving and aggressive speeding on Airport Road.

Creelman, a former regional senior justice of the peace, said much of the speeding and aggressive driving in Mono is done by non-residents just passing through without regard for others and local conditions.

“Airport Road, for example, has become a dangerous raceway with some vehicles travelling 30 to 80 km or more over the 80 km speed limit,” he said. “There is excessive speeding and reckless passing despite hilly terrain and many hidden driveway entrances.”

He said 282 speeding charges were laid throughout Dufferin County over the recent Labour Day long weekend.

“We can’t keep up with this epidemic of speeding and dangerous driving when the provincial government refuses to give us, along with the OPP, the tools to address the problem,” Creelman said.

To make matters worse, many traffic charges are at the risk of going nowhere.

“The Provincial Offence Courts are in disarray with matters taking two to three times longer to find their way to resolution or trial,” he said.

“Serious charges such as stunt driving are already being pled out with lesser consequence and could be dismissed altogether due a court backlog the province is doing nothing about.”

His last letter specifically noted that basic speeding fines have not increased in over a quarter century. It also asked the province to relax rules that make it impossible to deploy Automatic Speed Enforcement (ASE) on roadways where the speed limit is 80-kms/hr.

“Potentially being caught on camera with an appropriate penalty would definitely deter speeding,” Creelman suggested in his August 2022 letter.

The letter tackled other issues such as the need for proper signalization at Highway 10 and Camilla and Highway 10 and Hockley Road. It addressed the need for environmentally responsible roadway illumination. Creelman also pointed out an unsafe lane on Highway 9 west of the 1st Line.

In his letter, Creelman said he spoke with Mulroney in January 2020 about rules that govern the use of ASE. The means of enforcement is restricted to Community Safety Zones and school zones. Speed limits there don’t exceed 79-kms/hr.

“This ties our hands and deprives us of a needed tool to discourage speeding and reckless driving,” he wrote in August. “We desperately need the option to deploy ASE on 80 km/h roads where speeding is chronic, epidemic and out of control.”

For us to deploy AES under the current rules, we would need to reduce the speed limit by one kilometre per hour and declare long stretches of roadway a Community Safety Zone.

“To declare school zones where there are no schools would be absurd and make a mockery of the concepts of Community Safety and School Zones,” the mayor wrote.

Mono was one of the first municipalities in Ontario to embrace OPP contract

policing, he said, and augment the level of regular enforcement with an additional part-time officer dedicated primarily to traffic enforcement. Since then, we contracted for additional enforcement.

“Despite this, speeding and reckless driving remain a chronic and disturbing reality on many of our roads,” Creelman wrote.

Higher fines will be a better deterrent to aggressive driving.

“I’ve spoken with Minister Mulroney twice and written several letters calling for increased fines, penalties and other measures to counter speeding but to no avail,” he said

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