By Chris Pickup

A county staff housekeeping move to organize different Rate of Speed Bylaws on the county’s roadways into one Consolidated Speed Bylaw, met with some unexpected pushback from councillors last Tuesday in committee.

Tyson Haedrich, the county’s Director of Engineering Services, noted there are currently approximately twenty separate by-laws designating the rate of speed on different highways, and more designated before 2001 where the bylaw cannot be located.

The Highway Traffic Act allows for municipal councils to prescribe different rates of speed than are prescribed in the Act as 50 km/h within a built-up area and 80 km/h otherwise. They cannot exceed 100 km/h.

The proposed Consolidated Speed Bylaw retains all currently posted speeds, except for several stub roads in rural areas which are too short or narrow to sustain the posted 80 k/ph which staff adjusted down to 60. Future changes will be made as amendments to the consolidated bylaw.

Councillor Rob Shirton felt some roads can handle 90 k/ph, such as Robinson and Rainham.

Councillor Grice queried whether urban speeds could be pegged at 40. What is possible? he asked. Many of his constituents want a speed limit of 30 around schools, speed bumps, and stop signs.

Haedrich said it can be done, but “it’s a complicated issue”.

Grice admitted while ward 3 wants 40, another ward might say no. “Can we do it community by community?”

The short answer was yes, however the long answer was that it would have to be listed road by road. The provincial default is 50 urban or 80 rural. If the county wants to change that, signs would have to go up on every single road.

“Speeding is dogging everyone around the table,” Mayor Hewitt said. “We need to look for feedback from the community. It’s been front and centre, maybe a perception issue.”

The consolidated bylaw was passed 7-0, to be ratified at council tonight.