Millroy: Waiting On Councillors , City For Answers

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AS ANYONE WHO reads this column on a regular basis knows, I have never been happy that our traffic people allowed to stand the screw-up to the lane configuration at Albert and East Streets that the line painters from Guelph foisted on us.

Thinking two new councillors in Ward 2 , Luke Dufour and Lisa Vezeau-Allen, might have different thoughts about the configuration than the councillors who have ignored the mistake for the past six years, I forwarded copies of past and present configurations to them.

I never got the courtesy of a reply, something that was quite a change from my dealings with councillors in the past.

Anyway, as a result of this, I decided to query Chief Administrative Malcolm White as to his views on the configuration of the intersection, which now has only one lane from Albert continuing north onto Wellington Street East where there had previously been two.

On Sept. 25 of last year I sent a note to White explaining that since I had gotten nowhere with the numerous columns I had written on the intersection, I thought I would take a different route, approaching the councillors with drawings as to how the intersection was and how it is now.

On Sept. 30 White acknowledged he had received the emails including the drawings. “I’ll have to delve into things a bit before I can get back to you, hopefully next week,” he said in an email.

On Nov. 23, I emailed White to remind him of my previous query. That same day he replied, saying he would endeavour to have his thoughts to me by Thursday.

It was the last I heard.

I think I now know why.

I have known White for a long time, dealing with him as deputy city clerk at city hall, then city clerk, then CAO, the position he now holds.

He never dodged a question, always getting back to me quickly. He was, to my mind, as straight an arrow as I had ever come across.

And therein lies the rub, what I now see as the reason he has been reluctant to get back to me.

You see, he cannot tell a lie. Such a thing would be anathema to him.

I did not have this in mind when I approached him but I now see I put him between a rock and a hard place.

Knowing his character and the common sense that is virtually his trademark, if he supported staff in their decision to go along with the changes made by the Guelph line painters, he would have gotten back to me quickly and said so.

His silence tells me that he does not agree with the configuration as it stands.
I know it changes nothing, but it is nice to know.

THE SAULT MAJOR HOCKEY Association is operating this season but under a very different set of rules because of Covid-19.

It began the season playing three on three but has since moved up to four on four.
There is a shortage of players so some will find themselves playing two games in a row. At the best of times a team will have only 10 players, including the goalie.
There are no face-offs

When there is an offside, the offending team must clear the zone with the puck being awarded to the non-offending team.

When there is an icing or the goalie freezes the puck, the same thing occurs.
When a penalty is called by one of the two referees, a penalty shot is awarded.

It is here that I got a real jolt when watching a game at John Rhodes Arena on the afternoon of March 13.

A player, given the puck at centre ice to take the penalty shot, simply shot the puck at the end boards. There were seven instances of this throughout the game but the most egregious came at the end of the game.

A penalty was called just before the final whistle with the score tied 3-3. By scoring the player could have won the game, but he too simply shot the puck at the end boards.
What gives?

Well, apparently there has been an agreement made that this will be the case when it is decided the referees have made a bad call.

In this game there were many bad calls, all made by one referee as the other didn’t seem to see things the same way, nor did anyone in the stands.

The referee with the heavy whistle didn’t seem to realize he was getting the finger each time a player shot the puck at the end boards, the ultimate finger occurring when the player who had a chance to win the game didn’t take it.

I actually thought the hooking penalty called just prior to the end of the game was legitimate, one of only two I saw that way, although a couple, mainly involving collisions in the no-body-contact game, could have gone either way.

The same referee threw four players out of the game prior to the one I saw and threw four out of the game I did see.

I don’t really agree with the disrespect that is being shown the referees but I also don’t agree with the disrespect the referees are showing the players by calling penalties that border on imaginary.

I saw another game last Saturday and in that one, with different referees, there were only three penalties, all assessed to the same team in the third period and all I would rate as legitimate. That game also ended 3-3.

However, in light of what I saw the previous week and which apparently has been the norm, I still would suggest that some officials from Sault Major and possibly the referees get involved to clean this up.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Dave, I think maybe you haven’t really driven on that section of East between Albert and Wellington when the lines are visible. Or if you have driven on there you are one of the people who turns left onto East from Albert and just veers over into the right hand lane on East and continues on in the same lane on Wellington Street East.

    I experienced this last week when I was on East Street and merging with the traffic from Albert. Thankfully there is a yield sign on East (which Doug Milroy said the city had not planned to put there when they made this Lane reconfiguration) because if there was no sign there and I drove straight through, the car coming from Albert Street would have gone straight into my lane and hit me. Why? Because the driver of the car on Albert Street making the turn end continuing on in the right lane the way it should be.

    I don’t have traffic numbers but I would bet money that far fewer cars merge with the Albert Street traffic from East Street and a similar number of cars turn left onto Wellington at the top of East street. The majority of the traffic on that section of road proceeds from Albert Street, onto East street, and then continues east on Wellington street. It is obvious to any driver who uses that section of road regularly that the lines should be put back to the way they were.

    BUT this is a city which decided to take the traffic lights out at the corner of Albert and Gore Streets and replace them with a single stop sign at Albert Street, instead of putting a stop sign on Gore Street as well. I guarantee that would have solved that traffic problem before it even started. Now they are going to put that stop sign on Gore Street after all. But instead of waiting to see how it affects collision incidents at the intersection they are going to narrow Albert Street and funnel traffic coming from the West to that intersection into one lane?they said they couldn’t afford to put the lights back up because it had cost $210,000 or something. But they are going to do this? Insane!

  2. Doug…I LIVE in ward two and could not get an answer from either councillor as well on a different matter concerning a traffic situation.
    Common courtesy is to reply when someone takes the time to prepare something for ANY councillor. There will be no votes for either of these ward 2 councillors next time around.

  3. Doug, I was speaking recently with a staff member from engineering, bringing up the Albert St/East St to Wellington St East. The staff member responded in a very clear opinion that the experts we hired did their work and he agreed with their recommendation. My opinion is a simple one; if Albert to Wellington were a straight line, it would be 2 lanes travelling easterly. The curves in the road should make NO difference. Well, you know the old adage, “you can’t fight City Hall”. Have a nice day !!

  4. Doug, to add to your views, I will be perfectly frank and come straight to the point. Years past, before Provenzano, I used to blame Council for almost everything but things have changed drastically since then. Staff literally has Council by the testicles and Provenzano has both Councilors and Staff by the same region. Councilors don’t want to go against staff and the Mayor because they will not get the co-operation from them, if they do. Provenzano holds Staff’s livelihood in his grasp and they won’t go against him. Provenzano, because it is his last term, doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore and he is so arrogant that he won’t even listen to anyone. Some of the older councilors will speak up periodically but for the most part, stay silent and newer councilors, because they are still getting their feet wet and are still working on becoming part of the clique don’t want to go against the hierarchy. Hence, everything that is decided on comes directly from staff, and they certainly don’t want to say “we were wrong, lets change this.” Because of these attitudes, mistakes stay wrong, the way that people get hired doesn’t get corrected, and Provenzano will try and saunter off into the life of a Provincial/Federal political position. Good luck with that.
    A perfect example of that is the Gore/Albert intersection. When we had lights there, there wasn’t any problems. We used to get the odd accident but nothing to write home about. In the few years that the stop sign was placed there, there was an average of 17 accidents there annually, so just recently, another change was made. Not once did staff safe, “maybe we were wrong, lets put the lights back.” So the $7500 annual saving by removing the lights became more expensive.
    I for one thank God that Provenzano is done after this term and hope that a whole scale change is made with staff. Positions on staff should be filled by qualified people and not what your name is, who you know and who you ####.

    • I agree with you on the fiasco at Gore and Albert. S o now they come up with this new idea of a stop sign at each intersection and soon they will spend how much fixing the curb side on Albert to make it one lane. I think it would have been a helluva lot cheaper just to put new lights back up, but then they would be admitting that they screwed up

  5. The only thing I disagree with is a company from another town doing work in our town when we have the staff, equipment and knowledge here IN OUR TOWN !

    • It should be cheaper for local companies to perform the same work yet are continuously more expensive sometimes several times over (for union and non-union).
      To that, there are often significant quality problems with local companies as well.
      So why reward local companies that are clearly gouging for the same work & quality?
      I for one have had enough of the local mob wannabes.

    • No it doesn’t. It makes no sense.
      The main road involved in the intersection is the two-lane Albert Street. Due to the line painting change the one-lane East St now has precedence. This is ridiculous as East is joining the 2 lane Albert. A one lane street merging into heavier traffic should never have the right-of-way. It is that simple.

    • If you’re turning left on Wellington stay in the left lane, if you’re going east on Wellington stay in the right lane and stay in the lines. It’s literally that simple.

      • …until you go around the curve and realize you need to merge over to the other lane to go east on wellington and nobody let’s you in so you are stuck in the left lane. Then it becomes messy. And I live here, must really mess with tourists big time.
        Speaking of which, what is up with Northern Ave now? I literally did not know where I was supposed to be driving on that damn road, there are faint yellow lines, and faint white lines, to turn left to go down North Street is not clear if there is a turning lane there, or not. Somebody needs to paint some clear lines on Northern. It’s silly.

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