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Orangeville Transit Hub Downtown Location Gets Nixed

Orangeville Transit Hub Downtown Location Gets Nixed

In October, the town’s council paused work on the Orangeville transit hub. Now, the location is being changed.

On November 23, 2020, at the Orangeville Council Meeting, business owners from the Downtown Orangeville Business Improvement Area once again voiced their disapproval of the intended location for the Orangeville transit hub. For one stakeholder, it was their fourth time before the council regarding the matter.

The location of the Orangeville transit hub was to be between First Street and John Street, with it currently located on Fourth Street near Broadway. The consultant that was hired to perform the related study declared that this would be the ‘ideal’ location. Work was halted by Orangeville Council in October, to wait for the results of a safety assessment for the location. At a council meeting in May, it was discovered that this was never performed, despite the recommendation being made. Terrance Carter, of Carters Professional Corporation, strongly believes that the First and John transit hub would increase the likelihood of jaywalking and other hazardous outcomes.

According to council, the safety assessment did not indicate any major dangers of the Orangeville transit station being located between First Street and John Street.

Many stakeholders associated with the Orangeville Business Improvement Area have expressed their disapproval of the planned site. Loss of parking, safety concerns, traffic congestion, and other factors have been cited as the cause of the negative sentiment. Representatives of the OBIA have stated that the organization and its almost 300 members are against the First and John location. Moreover, some, including Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown, mentioned that there is another spot that offers more opportunities for future growth. Brown referenced the growing number of transit services, such as the Grey Transit Route that goes through Shelburne, as well as TOK Coachlines that goes to Pearson Airpost and Toronto’s Union Bus Station. There are discussions at the county level, with Dufferin councillors looking into the feasibility of a regional transit system.

At the most recent meeting of Dufferin County Council, held on November 12th, Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown provided a notice of motion asking council to support, in principle, a transit hub at the Edelbrock Centre property along Centre Street. This is where Orangeville town staff had recommended the station be placed back in 2019. The motion would direct County staff to work with the Town of Orangeville to investigate the matter further and report back to Council. The Town of Mono’s Deputy Mayor Creelman strongly supported the motion, saying Edelbrock is the ideal location for expansion and amalgamating the different transit services in the region.

Warden Darren White attempted to have the motion voted on at the November 12th Dufferin Council meeting in order to show that the County Council was supportive of the initiative in time for the November 23rd Orangeville Council Meeting. Dufferin County’s Deputy Clerk Michelle Dunne replied that would not be possible. White announced that, even without voting on the issue, it should still be moved forward to being discussed and explored by staff.

“I think you can more or less gauge the level of interest from the county council given the discussion, and hopefully that will aid you in your lower-tier.”

In addition to centralizing transit, one Orangeville councillor, Debbie Sherwood, has claimed another benefit. Sherwood says the establishments near the Edelbrock Centre, at the Westdale Mall, actually wanted the transit hub to be located there. Businesses at the Westdale Mall include FreshCo, Dollar Tree, Stacked Pancake and Breakfast House, Bowling on Broadway, and the Beer Store. At the November 23rd Orangeville Council Meeting, Councillor Grant Peters asked for the rationale behind those at the Westdale Mall being for a transit hub closeby, considering that the OBIA and its members are against the downtown location.

Increased business with no loss of parking.

Approximately eleven parking spots would be given up if Orangeville Council proceeded with the First Street and John Street location.

Not everyone thinks that the Edelbrock Centre is the ideal placement. Those opposed to this site have cited increased costs and potential harm to the community garden. At the October 19th meeting of council, Orangeville resident and former councillor, Sylvia Bradley, was one of those who pointed to the community garden as being a reason that this location should not be considered. She also explained how transit hubs are typically located downtown as the businesses want the additional foot traffic.

No evidence has been produced stating the harm to the community garden, located close to Dawson Road. Furthermore, Orangeville council has expressed the desire to have more community gardens. Even if it were proven to be an issue, Councillor Sherwood rationalized that more people would use the transit hub, more often, than the community garden.

When factoring in local businesses, again, those at the Westdale Mall are supposedly in favour of the increased foot traffic. The downtown OBIA businesses do not consider the trade-off in parking worth it.

At the most recent council meeting, on November 23rd, Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh moved to reconsider the matter of the location for the transit station. This was originally voted and successfully passed in April. Negating it would result in the Orangeville transit hub not being placed between First and John Street.

Mayor Sandy Brown, Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh, and Councillors Debbie Sherwood and Joe Andrews voted against the downtown location. Councillors Todd Taylor, Grant Peters, and Lisa Post voted for it.

Council will examine other alternatives, such as the Edelbrock Centre, going forward.

References – Orangeville Transit Hub Downtown Location Gets Nixed

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