Mayor calls round­about’s ap­pear­ance a ‘dis­as­ter’

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL MORDEN OB­SERVER

Lambton County’s traf­fic round­about needs spruc­ing up, says Brooke-Alvin­ston Mayor Don McGu­gan.

The mayor of the ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­ity in eastern Lambton County said he uses the round­about at Man­dau­min and Lakeshore roads near Bright’s Grove reg­u­larly to visit fam­ily.

“It is an em­bar­rass­ment,” McGu­gan said about the round­about built in 2009 on a route tourists and vis­i­tors of­ten use to reach at­trac­tions in north Lambton and along the Lake Huron shore­line.

Cur­rently, the is­land of land in the cen­tre of the round­about is home to a few ev­er­greens and weeds.

“We’ve got a $213-mil­lion bud­get,” McGu­gan said, “and you mean to tell me we can’t find $5,000, $6,000 or $7,000 to go and make that a beau­ti­ful en­trance to north Lambton and the cot­tage coun­try we’ve got here?”

McGu­gan said he re­cently trav­elled to Welling­ton County, where he passed a well-main­tained round­about with flow­ers and shrubs planted in the cen­tre is­land.

“I said to my wife, ‘Isn’t that beau­ti­ful? . . . That one in Lambton County is kind of a dis­as­ter.’”

McGu­gan, who didn’t run for re­elec­tion this fall, was at­tend­ing his fi­nal county coun­cil meet­ing Wed­nes­day when he ques­tioned the ap­pear­ance of the round­about com­pared to oth­ers around the prov­ince.

That led to a call by coun­cil for a re­port from county staff on how other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties care for their traf­fic round­abouts and how Lambton’s can be im­proved.

Bright’s Grove res­i­dent Alice Wa­lent-Bel­lar wrote re­cently to city politi­cians and Ja­son Cole, the county’s man­ager of in­fra­struc­ture and devel­op­ment ser­vices, with her con­cerns about the ap­pear­ance of the round­about.

“It is not a wel­com­ing view for folks us­ing that area,” she wrote.

Wa­lent-Bel­lar said in her let­ter she be­longs to the Sar­nia Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety and said it would do­nate plants. But, she added, the group wouldn’t vol­un­teer to plant them be­cause of safety con­cerns.

“It’s not look­ing pretty right now, and we rec­og­nize that it could be a fo­cal point,” Cole said.

A chal­lenge for the county is that it doesn’t have its own land­scape crew, he said. “We re­ally need to find part­ners in or­der to do that.”

The cost of buy­ing plants it rel­a­tively low com­pared with how much it would cost to plant them at the busy round­about, Cole said.

“It needs some sig­nif­i­cant traf­fic con­trol.”

He said his depart­ment will come up with op­tions and cost es­ti­mates and re­port those back to county coun­cil.

“We have been so pleased with how that round­about has op­er­ated,” Cole said.

It’s the county’s first and was built at a cost of close to $700,000 as a safety mea­sure.

Cole said there has been a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of se­ri­ous col­li­sions at the in­ter­sec­tion of the two county roads on the bor­der of Sar­nia and Plymp­ton-Wy­oming since the round­about was built.

“There have been some just very mi­nor fen­der-ben­der type col­li­sion but cer­tainly noth­ing like the se­ri­ous ones that led to us ini­ti­at­ing that project.”

Now, any time the county looks at adding stop­lights at in­ter­sec­tions, it also con­sid­ers the op­tion of a round­about, he said.

“Where they make sense, we would look at in­stalling other ones.”

Cole said there was a “fan­tas­tic re­sponse” from drivers us­ing the round­about.

“I think we can give back a lit­tle bit and make sure that every­body’ s proud to drive through it, as well,” he said. pmor­den@post­


The ap­pear­ance of the cen­tre of the round­about on Lakeshore and Man­dau­min roads near Bright's Grove has at­tracted the at­ten­tion of Lambton County coun­cil. It asked county staff this week to come up with op­tions for im­prove­ments.

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