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Windsor council approves Underwood Drive closure


WINDSOR – Underwood Drive is about to be permanently blocked from connecting to Underwood Road.

Following a public hearing that at least 60 residents from Windsor and West Hants attended, Windsor town council voted 4-1 in favour of making the end of Underwood Drive a cul-de-sac.

Scott Geddes was the lone councillor to vote against the motion.

Councillors heard from several residents before they made their decision, including residents who live on both Underwood Drive and Underwood Road, as well as a local developer who has been lobbying to have the roads connected.

The public hearing started with a presentation from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Louis Coutinho, where he highlighted several proposed collector roads mentioned in a pair of studies that were conducted by both Windsor and West Hants.

“Both municipalities… passed concurrent subdivision bylaw amendments, both decided it didn’t make any sense to talk about roads in the vicinity without having one plan,” Coutinho said, showing maps of the proposed collector roads.

In those studies a connection between Underwood Drive and Underwood Road is not proposed.

“Some people think the Town of Windsor does not encourage people coming into the town. That’s not true,” the CAO said. “The town would very much like to see controlled access to the town… but not through a residential neighbourhood.”

Mayor Paul Beazley said that the frustration about a lack of access roads is misdirected.

“To say we’ve got to punch through Underwood Drive in order to rectify all of the wrongs of the past, I just can’t buy it myself,” Beazley said, noting there must be a better way.

“Maybe I shouldn’t say it, but there’s a lot better use of $3 million out there, to invest in proper access roads for the growth of this area, rather than a duplication or redundancy of emergency services,” he said, referencing West Hants council's recent decision to sever ties with the Windsor Fire Department in order to create their own fire service.

 

Public weighs in

During the public hearing, several people spoke on both sides of the issue.

Patrick Watkins, a resident of Underwood Drive, spoke in favour of closing off the road.

“There are a lot of children, more so this year than in previous years,” Watkins said. “Underwood Drive doesn’t have the luxury of sidewalks. Were there to be an opening at the end of Underwood Drive, I’m afraid the traffic would be so phenomenal as to cause dangerous conditions all day long.”

Paul Brown, a resident on Underwood Road, said he’d like to see the two streets connected.

“We’ve got to look at the long term picture here; we’ve got a hospital and a high school in that area, right off of that roadway,” he said. “Underwood Road has quadruple the number of kids on top of what Underwood Drive does and we manage to keep our kids safe.”

Brown added that it’s time for the “town and county to work more closely together.”

A common sentiment expressed during the meeting was that Payzant Drive, which Underwood Drive connects to, only has one way in, one way out.

Mitch Brison, the developer of The Crossing on Underwood Road, wants to connect the two streets. He said any other jurisdiction that he does business in would make him connect the roads.

“There’s only one way we’re going to fix this problem we have here and that’s to get rid of the line,” Brison said, referring to the border between the town and municipality.

“If the people we have elected can’t co-operate then we need new people,” he said, adding that political fighting has lost economic development opportunities for the region.

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter spoke as well, saying more connections to the Town of Windsor would boost the local economy.

“Has anyone gone to the province and asked to seek provincial funding to help build roads,” Porter asked. “We looked at building at the end of Payzant Drive, connecting it to Highway 1… but at that time council of the day said no.”

Porter added that the Town of Windsor and the Municipality of West Hants should amalgamate to prevent disputes like this from happening.

The installation of the cul-de-sac will require capital funds to build the curb and gutter.

There is no word yet on when that cul-de-sac will be built.

 

Following a public hearing that at least 60 residents from Windsor and West Hants attended, Windsor town council voted 4-1 in favour of making the end of Underwood Drive a cul-de-sac.

Scott Geddes was the lone councillor to vote against the motion.

Councillors heard from several residents before they made their decision, including residents who live on both Underwood Drive and Underwood Road, as well as a local developer who has been lobbying to have the roads connected.

The public hearing started with a presentation from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Louis Coutinho, where he highlighted several proposed collector roads mentioned in a pair of studies that were conducted by both Windsor and West Hants.

“Both municipalities… passed concurrent subdivision bylaw amendments, both decided it didn’t make any sense to talk about roads in the vicinity without having one plan,” Coutinho said, showing maps of the proposed collector roads.

In those studies a connection between Underwood Drive and Underwood Road is not proposed.

“Some people think the Town of Windsor does not encourage people coming into the town. That’s not true,” the CAO said. “The town would very much like to see controlled access to the town… but not through a residential neighbourhood.”

Mayor Paul Beazley said that the frustration about a lack of access roads is misdirected.

“To say we’ve got to punch through Underwood Drive in order to rectify all of the wrongs of the past, I just can’t buy it myself,” Beazley said, noting there must be a better way.

“Maybe I shouldn’t say it, but there’s a lot better use of $3 million out there, to invest in proper access roads for the growth of this area, rather than a duplication or redundancy of emergency services,” he said, referencing West Hants council's recent decision to sever ties with the Windsor Fire Department in order to create their own fire service.

 

Public weighs in

During the public hearing, several people spoke on both sides of the issue.

Patrick Watkins, a resident of Underwood Drive, spoke in favour of closing off the road.

“There are a lot of children, more so this year than in previous years,” Watkins said. “Underwood Drive doesn’t have the luxury of sidewalks. Were there to be an opening at the end of Underwood Drive, I’m afraid the traffic would be so phenomenal as to cause dangerous conditions all day long.”

Paul Brown, a resident on Underwood Road, said he’d like to see the two streets connected.

“We’ve got to look at the long term picture here; we’ve got a hospital and a high school in that area, right off of that roadway,” he said. “Underwood Road has quadruple the number of kids on top of what Underwood Drive does and we manage to keep our kids safe.”

Brown added that it’s time for the “town and county to work more closely together.”

A common sentiment expressed during the meeting was that Payzant Drive, which Underwood Drive connects to, only has one way in, one way out.

Mitch Brison, the developer of The Crossing on Underwood Road, wants to connect the two streets. He said any other jurisdiction that he does business in would make him connect the roads.

“There’s only one way we’re going to fix this problem we have here and that’s to get rid of the line,” Brison said, referring to the border between the town and municipality.

“If the people we have elected can’t co-operate then we need new people,” he said, adding that political fighting has lost economic development opportunities for the region.

Hants West MLA Chuck Porter spoke as well, saying more connections to the Town of Windsor would boost the local economy.

“Has anyone gone to the province and asked to seek provincial funding to help build roads,” Porter asked. “We looked at building at the end of Payzant Drive, connecting it to Highway 1… but at that time council of the day said no.”

Porter added that the Town of Windsor and the Municipality of West Hants should amalgamate to prevent disputes like this from happening.

The installation of the cul-de-sac will require capital funds to build the curb and gutter.

There is no word yet on when that cul-de-sac will be built.

 

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