Isle Madame councillors unhappy with response to crosswalk request

ARICHAT: The two councillors representing Isle Madame were not satisfied with a response they received from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR).

District 1 councillor James Goyetche and Richmond Deputy Warden Alvin Martell responded to correspondence from the DTIR about their motion to investigate placing a crosswalk in front of the municipal building and École Beau-Port in Arichat.

During the March 9 committee-of-the-whole meeting of Richmond Municipal Council in Arichat, Goyetche said he was “not satisfied” with the response and neither was Martell.

“Why is it that we’re getting the response that says that we have to prove that there’s more traffic than there was in 2016, as opposed to them doing another study? We need to kind of go further with this. I don’t think that we’re getting the result from this individual that we need to get this done,” Martell told council. “If you look at the sidewalks now, and there’s more businesses and more activity going on, that should warrant to have another study done to find out if there’s enough traffic in order to have one, just one [crosswalk] here.”

Warden Brian Marchand said the department told municipal staff that traffic and pedestrian levels have not changed and further studies are not necessary.

“How do they know that, they didn’t do a study, so they’re just saying that off the top of their heads,” Martell responded. “What do we have to do, do we have to prove that we have more traffic?”

A motion was passed for council to meet with Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon and to send a letter to transportation minister Lloyd Hines.

During the regular council meeting on December 16, 2019, Martell asked that the municipality’s Department of Public Works approach the DTIR about placing a sidewalk on Arichat’s Main Street.

At the time, Martell said there are many students from École Beau-Port who use the road, particularly in the fall and spring, and there are residents and visitors at St. Ann Community and Nursing Care Centre, as well as others with mobility issues, who frequently use the road.

Noting that he did not favour a lighted crosswalk over the basic model, Martell wanted something on the busy road out of concern for public safety, and because the Arichat sidewalk project is finished.

Goyetche seconded the motion, but noted that this request had already been brought to the transportation department which determined there were insufficient safety issues to warrant action.

Martell added that if local staff or others within the department refuse their request, they take it directly to the minister.