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Prince Edward OPP seek public opinion, suggestions on policing in the County

Staff Sgt. John Hatch of the Prince Edward County OPP Detachment. – File photo.

Prince Edward County OPP Detachment Commander John Hatch is seeking the community’s opinions and suggestions on policing in the community to help create a new three-year action plan.

Every three years, each OPP detachment in the province is required to submit an action plan which focuses on the three categories of crime, (violent, property and drug) traffic safety (highway, trails, waterways and cycling) and other priorities, including abuse, mental health, fraud, and the reduction of 911 calls and false alarms.

“Typically these plans are completed by the end of May, but due to COVID-19 there has been an extension this year,” said Hatch, who noted he had planned to host town hall meetings throughout the County but cannot with the pandemic restrictions in place.

The questions are:

1) In your opinion, what is the most important policing priority in Prince Edward County?

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in relation to policing in Prince Edward County?

3) On a scale of 1 to 10, how safe do you feel, living and working in Prince Edward County? (10 being “very safe”)

4) What questions do you have about policing in Prince Edward County?

5) Do you have any other comments, suggestions, or feedback to provide?

Hatch would like to receive responses by June 12 and will spend the last two weeks of the month reviewing comments, suggestions and feedback, to base priorities of the next action plan on responses.

E-mail responses can be sent directly to the detachment at opp.prince.edward@opp.ca

“My goal is that by seeking your input, the next Prince Edward County OPP Action Plan 2020-2022 will be meaningful, because it will be based on engagement and support from the community members, partners and stakeholders,” stated Hatch.

The community satisfaction survey conducted in 2016 for the 2017-2019 plan showed 99 per cent of respondents felt safe in their community and just over 93 per cent were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the quality of police service and with the OPP’s ability to work with the communities to solve local problems.

The survey showed 79.5 per cent and 89.7 per cent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the OPP’s enforcement of aggressive driving laws and drunk driving laws, respectively.

Prince Edward County has a full-time population of more than 25,200 – with just over half of the residents over age 50. (2011 Statistics Canada)

Though this year could be different due to the pandemic, traditionally the population has dramatically increased in the summer due to tourism. Sandbanks Provincial Park averages more than 600,000 visitors each year – averaging more than 30,000 visitors to the park on any given day during the summer months. The County also sees an increase in tourism due to more than 40 wineries and an expanding number of breweries.

With more than 800 kilometers of shoreline (the distance from Windsor to the Quebec border), the OPP detachment’s marine boundaries include all water surrounding the County, including 18 km south into Lake Ontario to the international border.

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  1. Henri Garand says:

    Admittedly, my observations of pedestrian traffic in Northport are anecdotal rather than a multi-year 24/7 survey. But it’s curious that I have seen walkers along other County roads like through Crofton and on Big Island, where the speed limits are 60 and 70 kph respectively. Yet no one living in these areas has complained repeatedly on countylive.

    Since this matter involves police resources, I hope the OPP hears from other Northport residents about the severity of the problem.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    For anyone to suggest that the speed limit through a community should be based on the number of people they have or haven’t seen by the side of the road has to be the most illogical conclusion possible. Like most communities, Northport has people who cross the road to get to their mailbox, go to the park, visit friends or simply want to fish off the pier or to go for a walk. Unfortunately, the increasing speed at which traffic travels through this community makes those everyday things all the more dangerous.

  3. Rob #2 says:

    The problem is that if you want people to go about 70 you have to post it as 50. Make that 60 and 80 will end up being the common speed.
    This appears to be how the average citizen interprets speed limits in 2020.

    The quality of that road is also a reason for the higher speeds, I would agree with that.

    But as is the case with a lot of small hamlets that get a speed limit reduction, the spread or length of the reduced area is, in the case of Northport, excessive in my mind.

    The true need for the reduced speed limit would seem to be the area immediately around the community mailboxes and the newspaper boxes beside them. There is not an adequate place to pull well off the road and exit your vehicle to access those. Therefore the 50 km/h limit should definitely apply here.

    But to extend this 50 km/h limit all the way to Norton Road on the west side seems excessive. Motorists will conclude once past the mailboxes that this section of road looks pretty much like the rest of it, and start picking up speed.

    The same situation applies on County Road 14 coming through Crofton. Here it is a 60 km/h limit on a road that you could go 80 on, but nowhere near as comfortably as on County Road 15 owing to 14 having more corners and blind driveways on that stretch, plus the road is narrower.

    Comparing this section of 14 through Crofton and then 15 through Northport, it would seem that 50 km/h is too low in Northport, and maybe 60 km/h would be better.

    But then we’re back to the argument of people going 80 because 20 over is what you get away with. Driving is incredibly frustrating as no one gets called on anything. No matter how fast you go you always have someone on your back bumper, seemingly on any road at any time of the day.

    In the grand scheme of things the war on bad drivers has been lost. At one time you could be a careful driver and probably make it through life without any serious collisions. Nowadays it’s more about being lucky. You could watch out for the other guy decades ago and get by. Now there are way too many “other guys” plus entitled and invincible cyclists and even pedestrians thrown in along with not keeping up with infrastructure needs in the face of increased traffic. Hello top of the twin hill.

  4. Henri Garand says:

    I have been driving at the legal speed limit of 50 kph through Northport for the past 15 years. During these many occasional trips, whether in the morning, midday, afternoon, or early evening, I have never seen a pedestrian by the road. Perhaps the speed limit should be raised to 60 kph to accommodate motorists since the road can be driven safely at that speed without increased danger to pedestrians. Northport is not as densely settled as Bloomfield, Picton, or Wellington.

  5. Bill says:

    More speed traps would help slow traffic down. It also would bring in more revenue to the County.

  6. Dennis Fox says:

    I appreciate the OPP making this effort to connect with the community. I will also contact them through the email address provided in this article. By coincidence, I wrote to the Mayor and Councillor Roberts again, just a few days ago, about two “ongoing” traffic related issues – one speeding through Northport (this time by huge double trailer dump trucks) and the other about basic municipal grass cutting to keep sight lines clear. It should not have to be an ongoing problem every year – but the lack of response and action makes it this way.

    I understand that the police cannot be permanently posted along Cty.Rd. 15 – but then again the promised digital speed displays have not materialized either over the last several years – despite the promises to erect them, by our council.

    So for me, my priority is for basic traffic safety in our community – which really doesn’t appear to be a priority.

    You would think that with the efforts to attract new home development and tourists to PEC that the safety of residents would be a priority. I will hopefully get a response from our elected representatives that will help in these matters.

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