Candidate responds to concerns about Reeves Street changes

I appreciate looking at both sides of an issue. It is the best way to make decisions.

Another candidate has done that very thing, and has created a scenario for how we can do Destination Reeves without the road diet. I would like to respond to that.

Items mentioned were radar signs, policing and a by-pass. Radar signs are no longer an issue and I agree with this point. However, they were already part of the Destination Reeves Street plan. Two are already installed.

Terry Doyle, our Town of Port Hawkesbury CAO, noted the third one will arrive shortly. It will first be placed on Reeves where the speed transitions from 70 km/hr to 50 km/hr. It can be used on Granville Street also, where speeding is terrible!

In regards to policing, our Chief Finance Officer, Erin MacEachen, confirmed the town pays $ 1,027,000 for policing, which equals $0.73 of their $1.80 residential tax rate.

How much to add a RCMP officer, about $160,000 in total, with still no guarantee that new officer or any of the others could spend their day monitoring speeders on Reeves Street. It’s interesting to note an extra officer would equal a 12-cent tax increase on our residential tax rate.

Our town’s seniors and our families with children cannot afford it. But the truth is, some alternatives bare a cost and we need to factor that in and figure out how we are going to pay for it.

Don’t worry, I will not be an advocate for increasing taxes.

Regarding a by-pass; I am not going to lie, the thought of a by-pass concerns me gravely. Antigonish will tell you all about it. Suggesting we deter traffic, in my humble opinion, would be a huge mistake. The traffic we get on Reeves Street drives our businesses to thrive. Changing that will trigger declines in traffic and sales.

So, we find ourselves back to considering the road diet. We need to look at it from the perspective of town residents paying municipal taxes.

The Province of Nova Scotia will finance this work concurrently with other Destination Reeves Street work, including the Active Transportation Lane to NSCC, and the façade and streetscapes project. Best practice and traffic engineers (who really are the qualified professionals) believe the road diet will take an over-large four-lane roadway built for speeds of 100 km/hr, and it will transition it to a roadway designed for speeds of 50 km/hr.

And now, to add something the other candidate did not mention.

The province has structured the road diet as a pilot. If the pilot does not slow traffic, flow traffic properly, reduce the number of accidents, they will cover the cost to repaint the lines. We even have the added security of an emergency responders committee to assist. Plus, we are already familiar with the left turning lane concept, it works well on Highway 4A as you near the Superstore and Tamarac Heights intersection.

I support the road diet because it will not incur a cost to town residents as a viable solution.

I ask you for your vote, with the promise that I will make my decisions at the council table about viable options that will grow our town in ways that will not hit Port Hawkesbury residents and business owners in their wallets!

Michele Tabensky

Port Hawkesbury