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Hi all, just to give some input to hopefully help inform the conversation about bridges, bypasses, traffic and development:

– Bypass study underway which will look at the facts and figures of all options to redirect traffic including the feasibility of a bridge in the current circumstances. This was approved a soon as the downtown master plan and the GRSN plan were approved.

– Someone on a local Facebook thread said recently something about the ideal time for a bridge being 8 years ago and there is some truth to that but it is also a be careful what you wish for scenario. If a bridge increases our traffic capacity 30% (just an estimate) then the province will likely mandate that Paris grow to meet it by the same measure. Especially if the Feds and Province will need to help fund it which is likely as the bridge might cost about the same as our total budget in a year for ALL the County programs, services and infrastructure.

– The current council has voted for very little of this growth in the whole county. In fact we’ve voted against it, we have been at provincial tribunal trying to fight about 2 dozen developments be they outright trying to stop them or trying to get concessions for less units etc. We also stopped taking new applications for 2 years.

– Before this term a DOUBLING of the town of Paris (5400 units) was either approved or at appeal but essentially in the development pipeline. Some of the applications or zoning decisions go back 20+ years.

– Also some people like the downtown pedestrian safety changes and others do not. That’s definitely multifaceted. For years we were told “you better make changes before someone dies” and then we did and yes we’ve slowed traffic there to keep people safe but some drivers are frustrated. I’d make the same decision again though based on how it has worked out. There is still some adjustments we can make regarding some parking, lane designations and timings. Realize too that it is an interim plan and in a near period of time the downtown master plan will start and it will be changed again and hopefully safety and better traffic flow can both happen.

People need to understand the provincial dynamic in this.

– Developers take us to provincial tribunal (essentially a provincial court) if they feel we take too long to consider, if we don’t make a decision, if we make a decision they do not like and feel we didn’t have grounds to make. One developer took us to tribunal AFTER a mutual agreement and got a favourable decision for them. Pretty ridiculous.

– The province deems what our capacity is and they tend not to put traffic into the equation. They are concerned about water etc but to a tribunal full of provincial appointees from Toronto laugh at the idea that what we consider significant traffic levels because they are looking at it with a more big city lens (my opinion).

– The last several provincial governments are very pro developer and pro development and it shows in their policies. They have created a system that greatly favours growth and they sure as hell are not shy about it. Look at what they call the legislation “Places to grow” “More Homes, More Choice.”

– Part of so much of the building happening now is because we fought so much of it which stalled it for a time but then a number of provincial tribunal decisions come down at once and those provincial decisions are final. They even say when the building can start which harms our ability to phase the growth in but we have received concessions and been able to lower the total number of units by fighting it.

Feel free to rake council over the coals for growth. Everyone has their right to do so but know exactly why you are and how this stuff works (or doesn’t in this case) in terms of municipal powers.

I know exactly how little of the growth has come across my desk and how little I voted for and how much fighting has happened.

That said way too many people skip over the provincial side of this and I do not get that. It needs to be fought there too and it almost never comes up during those elections.

The provincial election is coming. Asking ALL the provincial candidates and incumbents (we have 3 MPP’s who represent parts of this riding) where they and their party stand on stopping development and on funding bypasses and bridges.