Councillor’s Corner: Byron Avenue restrictions and a ward boundary review

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor

Summer is over and September has come to Kitchissippi. Throughout the summer, Team Kitchissippi has worked hard, under extraordinary circumstances,  to assist our residents to the best of our abilities, and we will continue to do so throughout the fall and winter. My thanks to everyone who has written to our office with empathy while we address the huge volume of correspondence we are receiving.

One matter we’ve been receiving a lot of notes about is the local-only restrictions on Byron Avenue. I advocated for these restrictions in the spring to help encourage physical distancing and create space for residents to enjoy the outdoors safely. I know that there are residents who are hoping to make these restrictions permanent; I’ve also heard from many who would like the restrictions lifted as traffic pressures begin to rise. Presently, I don’t intend to remove the barricades. I’ve observed this space to be well-used and the need for distancing has not diminished. However, if a request to maintain these restrictions permanently comes forward, I will entertain it. Currently, we’re monitoring traffic volumes in the area and I’m discussing with the City how this could be made permanent. Most importantly though, I won’t advocate for keeping this stretch of Byron local-only without opening the question to the community for input.  

Council is undertaking a review of our ward boundaries. This is a complex process that needs to ensure that population and other considerations are evenly balanced across the city. I’ve consulted with our community associations about the five options that have been on the table thus far. The City has recently made a sixth option available to the public on the consultation site. You can view this option on — there will be several public open houses where you can learn more and provide your feedback, so keep an eye on the newsletter for more information. 

I’m happy to report that I’m now able to seek council approval on a plan for gateway signage that would designate large areas of the ward as 30 km/h zones. After a lot of discussion with community associations and City staff, I’m ready to move forward with a proposal that would see most of McKellar Park, about half of Westboro, and a large portion of Civic Hospital made into gateway areas where all streets would have a 30 km/h speed limit. My goal is to get the entire ward done eventually, and this proposal gets us a little further in that direction while maximizing the limited budget the City has set for these initiatives. I’ll have more details about this soon.  

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to urge everyone to please download the federal government’s new COVID-19 app. The app works on most phones, is free to download, and it doesn’t rely on 100 per cent usage to be effective. This app is a key piece of our collective efforts to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, in addition to continuing to wash our hands, wear masks and practice physical distancing. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep our community safe. 

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