Central Council debates ‘children playing’ signs


CENTRAL MANITOULIN – A recommendation from the roads committee to council, “that the road superintendent place ‘Children Playing’ signs at both entrances to Coventry Road,” was moved by Central Manitoulin Mayor Stephens and seconded by Councillor Angela Johnston and was passed on a recorded vote. This followed strong debate on the process of installing such signs.

Councillor Al Tribinevicius moved the motion at council, with Councillor Angela Johnston seconding.

Councillor Steve Shaffer began the debate, noting that while he was not at all against safety, especially where children are involved, he had difficulty with the process of deciding where such signs would be located. He cited the growing sign pollution springing up in the community and questioned whether such signs should be installed whenever council was asked by anyone. “We don’t have any criteria,” he noted. “Is it one, two, three or four children in the area before you put up a sign, or should we just put them up where children gather?” He suggested that signs would lose their impact if they were on every street where children reside.

Councillor Rose Diebolt agreed with Councillor Shaffer. She noted that plastic stick people on the side of the road were effective in slowing down traffic. “People don’t pay attention to no parking signs,” she said.

Councillor Derek Stephens also questioned the process. “We do have sign pollution,” he said. “They go up and they never go down. We should reserve them for our playgrounds and other places where children gather. Homeowners can purchase a sign and put it at the end of their driveways.”

“I don’t disagree with Steve, Derek and Rose,” Councillor Johnston said. “My problem is we have put them up for people who just requested it. I think it is a broader issue; why do we put them up for some people and not for others. If we are not going to put up signs for this request, shouldn’t we take down the others.”

Councillor Dale Scott agreed with Councillor Johnston. “If it saves one child’s life, I am for a sign,” he said.

Councillor Al Tribinevicius noted that he has seen signs go up and those signs, “disappeared at some point.”

Mayor Stephens said he followed Councillor Scott’s line of thinking. “I am solidly in favour of any step to ensure the safety of children,” he said.

A recorded vote saw Councillors Stephens, Shaffer and Diebolt vote against the motion, while Councillors Tribinevicius, Scott, Johnston and Mayor Stephens voting for the placement of the requested signs.

Following the vote, Mayor Stephens suggested the issue should be referred to the Roads Committee.