County considers uses for traffic data

By Chad Ingram

The following are brief reports of items discussed during an Aug. 14 Haliburton County roads committee meeting.

Councillors on the county’s roads committee would like to see the data collected by the county’s digital radar traffic signs analyzed and if it’s demonstrated that certain areas present systemic speeding issues have that information passed to the OPP.

The county owns two of the signs which are moved around to different areas recently stationed near Kawagama Lake Ingoldsby and Highland Grove. The devices which display in red lighting how fast vehicles are travelling have been shown to modify motorists’ behaviour mitigating speeding. They also collect and store traffic data and Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt said she’d like to see that data analyzed and put to use.

“If we’re not tracking it and knowing the outcome then what’s the point?” Moffatt said. “You can say you know we’re changing behaviour . . . but if we’re going to do it then we should do something with it.”

“It changes behaviour we’ve had evidence here and elsewhere” said Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin adding that taking action against speeding in certain areas would require investing money and resources.

“And so without the analysis of the data we can’t identify the trouble spots where we would make the choice to invest that kind of money or energy to try to do something” Moffatt said adding that council could request targeted police patrols of certain areas for example.

Public works director Craig Douglas said that the data could be passed along to the OPP.

Dysart et al Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy suggested that the data be regularly presented to the roads committee so members could keep an eye on speeding trends and suggested a sample info package be brought to a future meeting.

“I philosophically disagree with us doing this it should be an OPP initiative not ours but that’s a topic for another day” Kennedy said.

Staff are requesting a one-time $3 million increase in the county’s capital roads budget for 2020 and are suggesting borrowing those funds.

“Staff are very pleased with the incremental budget increases that are moving the county towards sustainability in capital roads works” a report from pubic works director Craig Douglas reads. “However the roads infrastructure gap remains an issue because our resurfacing program will remain one step behind the needs of the roads over the next five years. In fact unless additional steps are taken the level of service of the roads is forecast to worsen in the short term before we see a significant rebound in the overall performance of the county roads.”

The county’s capital roads spending for 2019 was approximately $3.2 million.

While councillors on the committee supported the idea of a one-time infusion of $3 million they were not supportive of borrowing the money at this time.

Staff will bring a subsequent report back to the committee regarding the loan term interest rates and how repayments would affect the 2020 budget.

Steven Thornton of Highland Technical gave a presentation to committee members regarding an energy conservation and demand management plan for the county.

Fifty to 60 per cent of energy use in any building is dedicated to space heating.

“Your HVAC system is always your biggest energy use” Thornton told councillors.

Therefore he said keeping building envelope in mind when constructing new facilities can help to reduce energy consumption.

“You want to invest in the size of your buildings first” Thornton said.

As far the county’s overall greenhouse gas emissions public works director Craig Douglas said approximately 20 per cent of emissions come from facilities about two per cent from electricity use and the remainder from its vehicle fleets.

“All our fleets are significant” Douglas said.

The county is in the process of creating a climate change plan.