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LETTER: Was the Fergus bike lane issue already decided before debate began?

'The whole project has felt like it is being managed to a specific outcome that had already been decided,' writes Ed O'Shaughnessy
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EloraFergusToday received the following letter from Ed O’Shaughnessy regarding his petition on the St. David Street project:

Letter to the Editor:

I read last week’s letter, re: ‘Controlling Mayor’, from Judy Haddad, with interest because this is how I felt after I presented my petition on ‘Saying no to bike lanes on St. David Street’ at the Aug. 30 council meeting. The whole project has felt like it is being managed to a specific outcome that had already been decided.

In May, a survey was done to get community feedback and 80 per cent of survey respondents preferred to rebuild St. David Street without adding bike lanes. But this was ignored. Local business owners were consulted and some were concerned about how the loss of parking in the area will affect their business. But this was seemingly ignored.

A petition was presented to council with more than 1,060 signatures expressing concern over adding bike lanes along a provincial highway. And while this was acknowledged, this also was seemingly ignored by some on council.

At least one councillor has collaborated or at least seems to be aligned with the local bike group, Green Lanes, on the bike lanes option but this is apparently OK.

And although Council by-law allows for a Motion to reconsider a previous decision at the meeting at which the question was raised, the motion was deferred to a subsequent meeting which now requires a two thirds vote (5-2) to pass instead of a majority vote (4-3).

While some councillors are in support of reconsidering this decision at the next council meeting on Sept 20, there are a few that do not see the need to reconsider. All of this to me suggest a ‘Fait Accompli’.

For interest, Webster’s dictionary defines ‘Fait Accompli’ as ‘something accomplished and presumably irreversible’. Based on my experience with this project, this sounds about right.

Ed O’Shaughnessy