Ward 1 Meeting - It was a good meeting

On Wednesday I attended the Ward 1 meeting held by Councillor Marilyn Crawford,  on my facebook it was pointed out that Councillor Crawford had lost in the last election, oops, I forgot about him.  When I saw Crawford I mean Marilyn now. 

When I arrived I was surprised by the amount of people in attendance 30+, it was held at Vimy Ridge school on Telford Street, perhaps the communication from the school is better then others, there were community representatives from Neighbourhood watch in attendance as well.   Here is a google map link to the area, since I was not a resident of the ward some references to street names and the surrounding references did not mean anything to me. 

The set up was also more conducive to a conversation,  Marilyn sat at a table and the residents did as well, as more people joined they sat in chairs around the area,  it had a different feel then the last one I attended where people were in an audience and Councillors Renrick Ashby and Regional Councillor Shaun Collier along with Councillor Crawford sat at table on their own. 

First question was about the safety of the intersection of Carter Bennet and Rossland, it does not have a traffic light,  the area has seen a lot of new development, a former passenger in our carpool lives in the area so that is why I was familiar with the intersection she was referring to.   People have to cross to get to the bus stop across the road and request was made for a crosswalk or some temporary solution as the road allowance will eventually be seeing construction done so the Region’s response is to not do anything due to the future work. 

Questions in the beginning were Regional in nature but for residents it does not matter who is responsible for what. 

Transit was an issue brought up, routes in the area do not make sense,  no buses after 7pm it seems, makes it difficult to work in the city up to 5-6pm or later and get home using transit.   Transit does matter people should be able to live in this town without a fleet of cars, a one car family does not stand a chance here and that is too bad.   I am trying to look at the route mentioned but the Durham Transit website makes you download individual route maps,  I want to look at the routes all at one time to see the huge swaths of area not covered.  Here is a link to Durham Transit route area if you find a map of the routes on one map let me know.   One thing I know, all routes lead to the Go Station.   Getting to Pickering High School from some areas is an impossible task.

The area has grown faster then transit can accommodate. 

Garbage was brought up and there was a resident that use work as a garbage man in the area and said it all depends on the driver, the routes start by 7am so you have to have your garbage out but you could end up at the far end of the schedule and see your trash picked up closer to noon or later.  
Litter was brought up, seems it is a problem near a storm water pond area and the “City” has been told about it but nothing is ever cleaned up.  Lack of garbage cans is also a cause of litter in trail areas but people are also responsible for not littering in the first place, it was pointed out that we should not have to pay more in taxes for the Town to clean up after everyone.  

One person in attendance had an issue with flooding in the back part of his property,  my question is when a plan of subdivision is submitted to the Town grading is looked at and reports are done, why was this not known? Why was it approved in the first place. 

Some developers are not keeping their left over lots in a clean condition, they become storage areas for equipment and dumping grounds.   Searell and Williamson area was mentioned as a location that is not very nice to see.   From my experience you can call the Planning department to complain, I did that last year when I found walking my dog on the east side of Chapman becoming impassable due to the weeds growing in the vacant lot, I contacted the planning department and within a few days it was all cut back and looked better.   

 Speeding was an issue,  most speeding is done by those that live in the area.  It is hard to tackle this issue , education and public shaming were offered up as solutions.   You can prevent speeding in design of the subdivision in the first place,  take a look at roads that are designed like drag strips, straight line roads that allow for the most lots possible as opposed to some curves thrown in to make speeding more difficult.   The feeder roads to smaller streets is no doubt where the speeding takes place. 

You can report speeding to Roadwatch , here is a link.

Neighbourhood watch is active in this area, you need 75% participation in sign-ups to be approved.   Neighbours have to get to know one another and there are those that just won’t open the door or don’t want to be part of the community.  

The Budget was brought up and Michael Baker asked some questions and had commentary on the lack of participation by the Citizens of the Town of Ajax.   The budget is released very soon and it will be approved with what could be very little challenge by the Council.    It is very difficult for residents to participate,  the goal is to have more input for next years budget, that was what was discussed , how to participate in the process and Marilyn is charged with this task.

I offered up my vision to see Participatory Budgeting come to life in Ajax,  this could help engage residents in the process and in turn increase voter turnout.  Participatory budgeting can be implemented in various ways but it boils down to residents being responsible for a portion of the spending and setting priorities.  It means the Town giving up some control I guess , it is a culture change.  

It could be some recreation spending that is open up to this method and let the ward residents decide on what is important , it does not have to silent the minority but if trails are not a huge importance to an area and more soccer pitches are then that is where the discussion can begin.

Marilyn will take these meetings to various parts in her ward and she is using her money for these meetings instead of conferences –example instead of 3 councillors and the Mayor going to some great lakes conference , one of them could go and the others could be having ward meetings.

I thought it was funny that everyone and I mean everyone was referring to Ajax as “The City” we can call ourselves a Town all we want but we can not close ourselves off to the issues a City has.  

Overall I left the meeting with a positive feeling, nothing will change overnight. 

Kudos to Marilyn for this meeting.  If I missed anything sorry, you should have been there.

One Response to “Ward 1 Meeting - It was a good meeting”

  1. SM Says:

    How many thousands of people live in Ward 1 and only 30 show up?. A lot of these issues mentioned are the same ones facing the residents living in other wards. I know Ward 4 especially has many of these same problems.

    Traffic - A study had recently been done by one of the large insurance companies which said Ajax was in the top 5 common places for an accident in Ontario. This would not surprise me one bit considering that a family member and I were both in seperate accidents within 6 months of each other. Too many people not paying attention, speeding, and driving too agressive. Just drive along Westney starting at Giant Tiger and go north and there’s people driving along there at 100 in the early hours of the morning (530am).

    Transit- I think transit is important in this town but I also feel there’s a lot of waste and poorly scheduled routes. For example, there’s a bus that goes by my house every 25-30 mins. It’s never packed at any given time. I see it go by everyday at 5am and there’s never anybody on it. Do all of these routes need to be going 24 hrs?. Perhaps we should look at dropping the hours at which these buses operate during the evenings and weekends.

    Garbage- Yes, the person who spoke does make a good point. Generally, people should have their household garbage out at the curb by 7am. At least it’s guaranteed to be picked up. Doesn’t mean it’s going to be picked up exactly at 7am. There’s a lot of things that determine the time at which it gets picked up. Weather, mechanical breakdowns, how much has been put out… etc.

    Some areas tend to be worse then others for litter and illegal dumping.. although I still don’t think we’re as bad as Toronto. With new development and more people moving here… the situation will eventually get worse. Part of the problem has to do with what we’re allowed to put out at the curb. There’s so many things that are banned from the garbage and require a drop off. Some people would rather dump the stuff off somewhere else. Installing more litter baskets isn’t always the solution because this is where people start dumping off their extra household waste.

    One thing I’ve noticed in recent years which never existed before is all this advertising on street corners and on lamp posts. Next time you’re stopped at a red light… look at the back side of all these street signs. They are PLASTERED with stickers advertising roofing, driveways, junk removal, etc. It’s ugly and makes the town look seedy. There’s large signs attached to the actual lamp posts and also those wire signs placed on the side of the road.

    One thing I’d like see addressed in all the wards is 2 things. Street sweeping should be increased. They only came down my street once this year. The catch basins are usually plugged. Along with picking litter, how about cutting down some of these weeds along the city streets?. Some of them are like 4 feet high and look like crap!. Lastly but not least…. what’s up with the winter works?. The trucks come down the street salting the road when it’s completely dry and no freezing rain in the forecast. And yet when we get a big storm, the side streets sometimes don’t get touched for over a day.

    Admin: I was scanning the budget and if I read it correctly they have budgeted less for park maintenance etc. Transit is a service but some routes might not need such large buses but they outfit us with full size busses, the Regional grid routes are packed , it is the neighbourhood routes that are either not serving the community in the best way or no one is using it at all. My neighbourhood lost it’s route “temporarily” something to do with Fairal street construction but it has not come back yet and the construction is done and the realigned road is open, there was no outcry and if you need to take a bus you have to walk on the pathway to Adams Drive or all the way to Harwood or up to the Ritchie Road area, my entire old neighbourhood does not have a bus go through it at all and Elm was decent route in the morning rush to the GO train.

    We are moving to a Grid system but the problem in Ajax is not enough people actually live on the Grid!

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