Sarnia council briefs

SARNIA TRANSIT- Blackburn News Sarnia File photo by Meghan Bond

After a successful pilot project, the city has decided that children under age 12 can ride Sarnia Transit for free permanently.

Council increased the age of children eligible for free rides from five to 12 from July 4 to September 4.

During that time, staff recorded that 83 children between six and 12 rode the bus, representing less than one per cent of total ridership.

Sarnia Transit doesn’t offer child or youth concessions as part of the cash or ticket fare structure.

Therefore, each child over five was required to pay $3 cash or give one ticket, valued at $2.40, which is the same price as an adult, in the past.

Transit staff estimate the change could result in a $15,000 revenue decrease each year, based on 2019 pre-pandemic calculations.

The children will have to be accompanied by a fare paying passenger to get the free ticket.

Several other Ontario cities have already increased the age for free travel to children under 12, including London and Windsor.

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Sarnia council has decided to wait to transition to battery electric transit buses.

A plan to fully convert the fleet over a period of nine years has been tabled to the 2023 budget.

Staff were directed to explore transitioning the transit fleet after declaring a climate emergency.

It’s estimated it will cost between $30 million and $45 million to fully convert the fleet.

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Council has accepted an $800,000 proposal for a new mobile command unit.

The existing vehicle has served the city over 30 years and has reached the end of its life.

PK Welding and Fabricators Inc. has been awarded the job.

Councillor Nathan Colquhoun voted against the proposal, but didn’t voice a reason why.

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Naming rights for Clearwater Arena may soon be up for grabs.

Sarnia council has agreed to revise the sponsorship, advertising and charitable giving policy to make it happen.

A new policy will be considered at the regular meeting October 25.

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A $60,000 proposal from The Planning Partnership to conduct a market analysis for the Sarnia Research Park and 402 Business Park has been accepted.

Sarnia council wants to get some insight into the competitive nature of the lands.

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Sarnia council has directed staff to implement permanent traffic signals and lane reductions at the intersections of Indian Road and Cathcart Boulevard and Murphy Road and Cathcart Boulevard.

Councillor Bill Dennis had called for increased safety measures following another serious crash in the area. 

Sarnia council also agreed to investigate the building of Dutch style roundabouts at intersections in the future.

The Dutch style roundabouts slow traffic and give safe crossing options for pedestrians and bicyclists while improving the amount of traffic going through.

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Council has directed staff to consult with restaurant owners on the long term strategies for patio extensions and street bump-outs.

A report is expected to return to council before 2022 budget deliberations.

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A motion from councillor Bill Dennis has received support.

Dennis requested that the Government of Ontario take additional steps to address the ever increasing problem of what he calls, “renovictions.”

Dennis said citizens and communities are hurt by these practices and it impacts the affordable housing crisis.

He said it also inflicts damage, both financially and mentally, on vulnerable citizens.

Council has agreed to pass the concerns to other municipalities in Ontario for endorsement.