I am wondering if Chelsea councillors and the mayor have thought through the implications of prohibiting parking on Summerlea and Gleneagle roads?
Aside from the inconvenience and anger they’ve created for members of the Gatineau River Yacht Club (GRYC), many community members will be equally inconvenienced and irate when they discover this change.
Many people in the neighbourhood – not members of the GRYC – come down to the public access at the river at the bottom of Summerlea to swim, many with very young children. Are they expecting them (often mothers alone with children) to drop their children off and leave them unsupervised by the water while they take their car to Hwy 105 to park and walk back? Are they expecting two- and three-year-old children to walk down and then back up to the 105? Have they thought about what it might be like to push a stroller down and back up with one or even two children in it?
Certainly the small GRYC parking lot cannot accommodate the general community. Even if the GRYC can enlarge its parking space, it is not their responsibility to provide public parking. Will they need to issue parking stickers to members and hire a ticket and tow service to remove cars not belonging to club members? What would that do to community relations?
Have the councillors and the mayor thought about the safety factors involved in parking on Hwy 105 where cars, just south of a dangerous curve, would block the bicycle lane, forcing walkers, joggers, bicycles and cars to veer out into the centre of the road?
What about taking small children in and out of car seats with open doors sticking out even further into the road where cars are travelling 70-80 km/h? How many accidents and even deaths might occur as a result of this decision? And what is the municipality’s moral responsibility and legal liability in that situation?
To my knowledge, in the close to 50 years the club has been present on the islands at the bottom of Summerlea, there’s never been a situation where emergency vehicles were unable to get in when necessary.
It seems that by closing parking on these two roads, they have effectively closed off another public access to the river for all community members.
Parking is allowed on other municipally-owned community roads, so why is it okay elsewhere?
Yes, the roads, especially Summerlea, are narrow. But now that they are municipal roads, it is the responsibility of the municipality to bring the roads up to municipal/provincial standards. They need to be widened and properly surfaced with the inclusion of a turnaround at the bottom of Summerlea.
If the municipality fulfilled its obligations, parking would not be any more of a problem on that road than on any other dead-end community road. And emergency vehicles would have the same access they have elsewhere.
Councillors and the mayor should stop shirking their responsibility to bring the road up to standards, which is endangering many more people in a far more potentially lethal situation.