By Chad Ingram
Minden Hills township is looking at new speed limit signage reminding boaters to slow down on the Gull River.
Residents along the five-kilometre stretch of river between Gull Lake and Minden’s Rotary Park have been expressing concern over the speed of boats as well as what some say is the resulting erosion of shoreline along the waterway for years.
The township first began investigating options during the last term of council under then-interim-community services director Darren Levstek.
It had been investigating submitting an application to Transport Canada which governs the waterway to have the speed limit reduced to 10 kilometres an hour.
During a committee-of-the-whole meeting last week community services director Mark Coleman presented a report to council recommending leaving the speed limit at the current rate of 16 kilometres per hour but increasing signage to remind boaters to adhere to the limit.
Staff members recently boated the river from Rotary Park to Gull Lake and there are a few speed limit signs posted including ones at Rotary Park the bridge at Beaverbrook Golf Course and along Orde Street.
“Then there are homemade signs which some residents have installed” Coleman said adding that these are not necessarily installed to any standard and that in one case a roadway sign indicating a 10 km/h speed limit has bee n installed on someone’s property.
He said the stretch of river does include some tight bends and that “a reasonable person would slow down.”
Coleman’s recommendation was the purchase of eight buoys with speed limit signs six signs to be installed in pairs at the bridges (Bobcaygeon Road Loggers’ Crossing foot bridge and Beaverbrook) and three to be installed at the boat launches at Peck Street Mistivale Drive and Rotary Park.
The signage project would cost about $4500 and will be included in the 2016 draft budget for council’s consideration.
During the public question period river resident and former councillor Brigitte Gall said residents had been advocating the speed limit be dropped to 10 km/h.
“Is that something that was brought to your attention?” Gall asked.
Coleman said it was but that it was quite a complicated process to request a decrease in speed limit from Transport Canada and questioned the ability of speed limits to be enforced.
“Will they actually go slower or not that is the question” he said. “Who ultimately enforces that in the end?”
Reeve Brent Devolin said the township would try simpler solutions before taking the speed limit reduction route.
“This is an attempt to modify behaviour” Devolin told Gall. “The last solution is what you have recommended.”