Gravenhurst council wants a review of the intersection of Muskoka Road South, Bethune Drive and Highway 11.
Council unanimously approved a request that the District of Muskoka which owns the road, conduct a service review for the intersection and to forward council’s concern to the Provincial Ministry of Transportation.
The intersection is the main entrance to the municipality for northbound traffic on Highway 11. The issue was before council after a resident’s expressed concern over safety.
Several councillors said they shared concern over the safety of the intersection.
Councillor Sandy Cairns said she has already seen the intersection lead to accidents.
“There’s been several accidents. In fact, one not long ago that was quite severe,” Cairns said.
Cairns stated that several residents have expressed concern over the intersection to her and that the motion needs to be passed for safety.
“For safety sakes, we need to make sure that this this motion goes through with some real strong teeth,” Cairns said.
Councillor John Gordon said the already confusing lane changes the intersection requires are made more dangerous by the traffic speed coming off the highway.
“I think that is a location that is destined to have a significant accident occur,” Gordon said.
Councillor Heidi Lorenz said that the intersection has been an issue for years and that she does not understand the delay.
“That intersection there has been talked about since I’ve lived here. I don’t know what’s taking so long,”
Chief Administrative Officer Scott Lucas said that there have been discussions over the intersection for years. This includes an environmental assessment that took place 15 years ago which recommended a changing the highway exit to Talisman Drive. Lucas also stated that the current highway exit was supposed to be temporary.
Lucas told council that the most recent discussions over the intersection only involved the ministry. He said that involving the District this time was appropriate.
“Given their ownership of the road, they have some skin in the game here as far as what happens at this intersection,” Lucas said.
Councillor Graeme Murray wished for the request to the district to be expedited as proposed the Talisman Gate development near the intersection will only make existing problems worse.
Mayor Paul Kelly agreed with Murray that the new developments make the situation more urgent. He highlighted a meeting in March with the ministry as an opportunity to present council’s concerns.
“To let them know about the concerns that are surfacing and about the development at that South End, how significant this is and how urgent it is to try to address it,” Kelly said.
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