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Council backs Wayne Gretzky Centre entry feature

City of BrantfordCouncil backs Wayne Gretzky Centre entry feature

City of Brantford Councillors unanimously backed a motion calling for a Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre entry feature for the cost of $25,000 from the Council Priorities budget during a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

After Brantford residents attended a public meeting at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre to discuss traffic control surrounding the sports centre on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, Councillors Dan McCreary and Greg Martin brought a solution forward to council during Tuesday’s meeting.

Rob Smith, a Transportation Technologist at the City of Brantford, led the April meeting to gather feedback, while Ward 3 Councillors Greg Martin and Dan McCreary were also in attendance to help answer any questions.

Those in attendance had a chance to speak about issues they have seen in the area including accidents, and the poor signage that leads to many drivers making U-turns in driveways that have led to close calls involving homeowners trying to leave their property.

During the public meeting, Staff shared one of their ideas to put up a sign to better signal to visitors where the entrance is and they passed around a mock-up design of what that would look like.

“The entrance sign for Gretzky is set back quite a way from the road, and a lot of people don’t see it,” said Coun. Martin in April. “What we’re considering is the possibility of a big overhead sign over the road pointing into the Gretzky Centre.”

Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting revealed that the cost of such sign would be $25,000, including the pole it would sit on. Staff will also be looking into whether or not the sign will be lit, either electronically or by solar.

City staff would aim to have to sign completed and installed by the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre rebuild on Saturday, October 21, 2023.

Coun. Brian Van Tilborg clarified with Mark Jacklyn, Director of Operational Services if studies warranted the addition of a signalized intersection for traffic calming.

“The resolution was asking for us to look at a signalized intersection,” said Jacklyn. “And we have done studies but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do the studies until after the main season – hockey season, so the current studies that we have, did not support a signalized intersection.”

Van Tilborg also asked the cost difference between a sign and pole, compared to a signalized intersection.

“You’re typically looking around $250,000,” said Jacklyn. “In this situation, because of hydro poles and other features that are in the neighbourhood and in the intersection, it would be much more expensive.”

Coun. Martin took the opportunity to also discuss that a signalized intersection was rejected by the community.

“When we had the word meeting, to discuss issues there, one of the things that came up was traffic signal at that intersection,” said Coun. Martin. “Most of the people there were opposed to signalizing that intersection. But one of the biggest concerns they had was people from out of town missed that entrance, because the signage on Fairview is set back from the road. That’s why we want to go with this overhead sign that will be much more visible in both directions. The problem is, when somebody misses the entrance, they pull into somebody’s driveway and now they’re backing out onto Fairview Drive and making another turn to go in the entrance. It creates all kinds of problems, for not only people trying to get into the Gretzky, but also people who live on Fairview. This sign is going to solve a lot of that issue and I think it’s going to go a long way to helping that that intersection.”

Coun. McCreary followed Martin’s comments saying that not everyone was opposed to a signalized intersection, but that a later study will help to determine if it’s worth the roughly $250,000.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s indicative of the entire neighborhood that they don’t want a signalized intersection there,” he said. “That’s something that if we find the warrant study supports, it will go to the greater neighbourhood and we will see what their indication is later.”

Final approval of the entry feature will happen at a city council meeting at a later date.

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