October 16, 2013

15 Sideroad could be renamed Dundas East

As published in The Erin Advocate

Janet and Thomas Collis do not want any more confusion about whether they live on Dundas Street or 15 Sideroad, especially when it comes to 911 emergency calls.

Last year Janet called 911 for an ambulance for her husband, but the dispatcher in London could not find their location, at the corner of 15 Sideroad and Tenth Line, just east of Centre 2000.

“When the dispatcher said she found us, it was not the proper location,” said Janet in a letter to Linda Dickson, Emergency Manager at Wellington County. “She continued to look and finally after some time the Fire Department came and were very helpful stabilizing Thomas until the ambulance came from the Town of Caledon. It took far too long – too much time was wasted.”

Dickson appeared before Town Council earlier this month to address the problem. Road signs do not indicate where Dundas Street West ends and 15 Sideroad, a former township road, begins. The address number for the Collis home did not register with either road in the 911 system.

“When people and businesses put our address into their GPS, no one can locate us,” said Janet. “Numerous times we have not received our mail. Since Sideroad 15 and Dundas Street is a very short road east of Main Street Erin and also west of Main Street Erin, it should have one name only.”

Dickson said the Ambulance Communication Centre is now aware of the situation. She said Erin Council should decide whether to rename the road, or simply to improve the signage.

“There are a number of other properties,” she said. “To simply go ahead and change it would impact a lot of residents. An appropriate way to deal with it is to hold a public meeting, bring residents in to discuss it.”

Councillors agreed that a public meeting should be held, but they did not set a date. They also agreed to eliminate all reference to 15 Sideroad at the Eighth Line near the Erin Heights subdivision, using Dundas St. W. on all signs.

“Certainly, it seems to me we have to make it consistent,” said Councillor John Brennan.

“We have a similar problem with Shamrock Road and 17 Sideroad,” said Mayor Lou Maieron. “It’s confusing for people and businesses.”

Dickson also recommended that a Civic Addressing Bylaw be adopted, which would bring addressing in the urban areas up to the standards used in rural areas. The former Erin Township passed an addressing bylaw in the 1990s, to meet the needs of the 911 system.

“The bylaw talks about how you number properties, the standards for fixing numbers to buildings, the responsibility of owners to post their signs,” said Dickson. “It is very important for emergency services. If a 911 call was ever placed, if it’s not visible, you’re going to have a hard time.”

The standard bylaw would require green property identification signs with numbers at least four inches in height – they would be installed by the Town, but belong to the property owner. It would be illegal to take them down.

While Dickson provided a draft bylaw for council’s consideration, they did not discuss the details. Staff are to report back to council with comments and recommendations.

The draft bylaw says the urban signs would “conspicuously placed on the building, or in some conspicuous place on the property facing the street on which the building is situated and shall not be less than four (4) nor more than ten (10) feet from ground level of the building.”

“I think a bylaw is a good idea because it ensures that there is a consistency throughout the municipality,” said Councillor Barb Tocher.