Volume 12 Week 5

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Commentary:
City councillors must bear some rsponsibility for Viseneau accident

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Last week, a young woman’s life was turned upside down when a speeding drunk driver smashed into her car on Viseneau Street, sending her to hospital with severe head injuries.

Last week, a young woman’s life was turned upside down when a speeding drunk driver smashed into her car on Viseneau Street, sending her to hospital with severe head injuries.

As I’ve written several times in past columns, every resident in Ottawa should have the right to live on a safe street. Safe from indiscriminate violence and safe from indiscriminate drivers, drunk or otherwise, who go careening down their streets.

The residents who live along Viseneau have had a long standing issue with drivers speeding through their neighbourhood and occasionally losing control and driving on their lawns and smashing into their fences before speeding off into the night.

Pat Teolis is a 38-year former RCMP member who has lived on Viseneau for the past 10 plus years and has seen his fair share of reckless drivers on his street. In 2013, he had finally seen enough and together with some of his neighbours started demanding that the city do something about it.

The city’s response was to do a study, which in municipal governance speak is just another word for delay. The study took the better part of a year and in the end, city staff agreed that there actually was a problem and recommended that several intersections be narrowed and a series of concrete barriers be installed.

'They stopped short of recommending the installation of gradual speed bumps because OC Transpo apparently wasn’t too keen on them. Something about how speed bumps would prevent the buses from sticking to their schedule, which is municipal governance speak for being a nuisance.

Teolis pointed out, and rightly so, that the schedules could be altered the one or two minutes the buses would be delayed by slowing down to go over the speed bumps.

It wasn’t until after the local councillor was presented with a petition containing 43 names of local residents that OC Transpo finally lifted their objections, paving the way for said speed bumps to be installed this summer.

Sadly, that’s a tad late for Camille Chartrand and her family. Some people have suggested that they should sue the city for negligence. I respectfully disagree. If they’re going to sue anybody they should sue city council. They’re the ones whose indecision, non-decisions and wrong decisions have failed to protect people like Camille.

If city council were truly acting in the best interests of the taxpaying residents on Viseneau Street, the speed bumps would have been installed as soon as staff verified there was a problem. They didn’t, of course, and now a young woman is lying in a hospital bed, her life turned upside down in a blink of an eye.

The buck has to stop somewhere and in this case the buck should stop at the city councillors’ desks. The safety of this city’s residents is one of their primary responsibilities, and that shouldn’t be shrugged off by deferring and delaying.

(Updated 1:30 p.m., June 10)

 

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