Alcona Plaza and the Elephant in the Room

Last night (Sep 15) Council received a deputation from some Alcona business people upset with the alteration of vehicle access to the Alcona plaza parking lot at Innisfil Beach Road and the 25th Sideroad. They felt that they had not been adequately informed about the road changes and were offended by the dismissive comments from some councillors at the previous council meeting.  But they did not elicit much sympathy. 

Mr. Ellis of the Alcona Business Association congratulated the Town on its work, insisted that there had been lots of meetings and that “nothing was done in secret”.

The CEO of the Ainley Group, engineering consultants for the project, referred back to the early planning guidelines of 2006 to emphasize that this had all been reviewed long ago in “numerous consultations”. However, the guidelines would have preceded any actual design work and he didn’t specify at what point businesses were told that the actual plan might alter existing vehicle access points. He described the legitimate traffic safety issue that contributed to the decision to close the eastbound access to the plaza. He also raised the unlikely alternative of removing all medians from the entire project at a cost of about $150,000 if changes were contemplated at the 25th Sideroad.

Councillor Boynton chastised the plaza landlord for not being more involved and suggested it was his responsibility to update his parking lot. According to his observation, the parking lot was almost full on a recent Friday and he said that meant that plaza customers were figuring out the new traffic pattern for themselves.

In the end, there was agreement to “examine” the usefulness of adding an advance green signal at the intersection. But Mayor, Councillors, Ainley Group and the ABA ignored the ‘elephant in the room’: How did the “numerous consultations” (that they insist took place) fail so spectacularly to adequately inform the people most directly affected?

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