Saugeen Shores Council has decided against a temporary plan for the summer to change one of the North Shore Road traffic lanes into a trail for pedestrians and cyclists.
The paved North Shore Trail along the waterfront between Port Elgin and Southampton is crumbling, significantly falling away in many places due to water damage.
In the interest of providing more space for people to be active and still allow them to keep a physical distance during the COVID-19 pandemic the Town was floating the idea of some changes to traffic on the road to allow for that.
The Town asked residents to take part in a survey to share their thoughts on the idea and more than 1,500 people took part.
52 per cent wanted a temporary one-way street with a dedicated trail for the summer.
37 per cent of respondents preferred as a two-way street with pedestrians and cyclists using the roads.
11 per cent voted to close the trail. The trail is already closed in some sections because it's so badly eroded. Mayor Luke Charbonneau warns, "The whole area has been undermined by the lake, so any portion that may look solid right now could give way at any moment so it's important for people to stay off the trail."
Charbonneau notes, council made its decision based on those who would be most affected by the changes, "The important number to council the percentage of those residents along the North Shore Road"
In the survey, 14 per cent of the people polled live on roads that may be impacted by the active transportation corridor.
Of those respondents, 43 per cent were in favour of the one-way option; 43 per cent preferred the road remain a two-way street; and nine per cent recommended closing the trail.
Charbonneau says, "When you look at that it was fairly resounding majority were either opposed outright or disagreed with the one-way proposal in various ways."
He adds, "To make that road a one-way road even for a couple of months would represent a pretty significant inconvenience for those residents and we hear that loud and clear from them."
"There are other options and council would like to pursue those, recognizing that it may be necessary to have a longer term solution in place here pending the reconstruction of the North Shore Trail," says Charbonneau, noting "Ultimately if we're going to have that longer term solution the 'Share the Road' option is probably the best way to go."
One of the road-sharing options council was supportive of in Committee of the Whole Monday was to make the speed limit 30km/h. Charbonneau says that has not been voted on yet and will come up at a future council meeting.