MTO Minister Caroline Mulroney Promises Stoplight for Tobermory 

Photo: Traffic at Tobermory’s main intersection — where Hay Bay Road and Head Street meet Highway 6 — is awkward at the best of times. There are no extra lanes, no pedestrian crossing lines — nothing to make things run safely, let alone smoothly. When the ferry throws 145 cars into the mix, things get downright chaotic. On weekends, traffic backs up for a block or more on Head Street and Hay Bay Road, as pedestrians try to pick their way through the traffic. MNBP has been lobbying for a stoplight at the intersection for at least 20 years. At last week’s AMO conference in London, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney told MNBP representatives that the project will go ahead — an engineer has been hired.
By John Francis, Bruce Peninsula Press

The Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) does a lot of important things to facilitate good governance, not least of which are the annual conferences, such as the one held last week in London, ON.

The conference offers an opportunity for municipalities to meet with representatives from various Ontario Ministries.

Our entire Council attended AMO, along with municipal CAO Peggy Van Mierlo-West. Their highest priority was to present requests to the Ministry of Transportation. Mayor Milt McIver delivered the report the CAO had compiled. Our delegation received a pleasantly positive response (see Media Release on page 16).

But, Councillor Smokey Golden reports that in fact, it was even better than that.

The municipality had two priorities: getting a stoplight at the intersection of Head Street/Hay Bay Road and Highway 6 in Tobermory and extending the wide paved shoulder on Highway 6 down to Ferndale (it currently ends in Miller Lake).

“You only get fifteen minutes to make your case” stated Councillor Golden “so you need to be concise and well-prepared”. She was surprised that the MNBP group was not presenting to a “representative” of MTO, but to the Minister herself: Caroline Mulroney. A second surprise followed quickly on the first — the Minister was affable, very well briefed and she seemed totally positive about MNBP’s requests. On the stoplight issue, Council received a verbal assurance that the project is “in process — they’ve already hired an engineer”. Councillor  Golden notes that “as government works, nothing is ever positive until the official announcement is made”, but they were led to believe that the announcement is forthcoming.

On the subject of the widened paved shoulder down to Ferndale, here too they received a timeline rather than a vague assurance. The timeline was “not in the next couple of years”, but MTO definitely intends to go ahead with it, perhaps in 2027.

But these were not the only good news stories at AMO. Another of Councillor Golden’s priorities, moving Tobermory’s daycare into the public school building, is moving ahead — construction is underway. But there was also progress on a related front: cost. The rent MNBP will be paying to operate a daycare within the public school will be about a third of the amount originally proposed.

All told, a very productive three days.

Other Business

At the end of MNBP Council’s August 14 Council Meeting, two issues were brought up under “Other Business”: streetlights and Cabot Head.

Deputy Mayor Rod Anderson asked about streetlights in Tobermory; more particularly, he wondered why so few of them actually work. Councillor Smokey Golden pointed out that this is not a new problem; she has been complaining about it for years.

They were told that “the Public Works Department is actively working with the contractor regarding the matter”.

It was also suggested that, rather than telling a Council member, the public might be better served if they contacted the municipality directly to report streetlight outages.

Councillor Aman Sohrab was concerned about the vandalism that has happened at Cabot Head lightstation, one of our municipality’s most important historic sites. He pointed out that people on four-wheelers have no trouble getting to the lightstation (which is seven kilometres up a closed road) because there is a wide path around the gate MNBP has installed.

He asked about the status of the closed road and the land it crosses. Staff reported extensively on this issue for the previous Council; those reports will be brought back to Council.

Mayor Milt McIver wondered about the status of the tennis courts in Lion’s Head. He was told that the municipality’s access is suspended while there is construction going on at Bruce Peninsula District School.