A motion to hold a plebiscite on a key component of the Destination Reeves St. Project has been defeated.
Councillor Hughie MacDougall presented a motion to ask residents if they were in favour of reducing Reeves St. from four lanes to three as part of the project at November’s regular town council meeting Tuesday night.
MacDougall and Mark McIver, the town’s deputy mayor, voted in favour of the motion, while Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, the town’s mayor, and Trevor Boudreau voted against it for a 2-2 result; the Municipal Government Act indicates a tied motion is a defeated motion.
After the meeting, Chisholm-Beaton said she feels a public vote isn’t necessary at this point.
“For me, I found that the motion was premature at this stage of the game- we can certainly look at ways that we can engage citizens if there’s still concerns out there, absolutely,” she said. “Before the end of the pilot, I absolutely think that we should be engaging with our citizens to ask them ‘How is this working for you?'”
Chisholm-Beaton said the reduction to three lanes will be done as a pilot project, so residents can try it, then decide if they want to keep it.
She said they can make an informed decision once they’ve experienced the new road design for themselves.
“They can actually speak from a place of experience instead of speaking from a place of fear,” she said. “They’re basing a decision on misinformation, or not enough information.”
Chisholm-Beaton said it’s not as simple as asking residents what they think before they have a chance to try the new design.
She said town officials can’t expect citizens to be traffic engineers, and make a decision before they’ve tried the road; they’ll be empowered by driving on it during the pilot phase.