Jeff Green | Jan 26, 2006
Feature Article - January 26, 2006
Feature ArticleJanuary 26, 2006
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Tichborne resident incensed at Council refusal
by Jeff Green
Danka Brewer thought she was making a reasonable request of Central Frontenac Council when she wrote a letter asking that the fee be waived for two “Slow - Deaf Child at Play” signs in Tichborne for her nine-year-old son Alexandar.
Alexander has a disorder called “Central Auditory Processing Disorder, which means that Alexandar’s brain does not process sounds between 55 and 80 decibals. Most traffic falls within this range and Alexandar cannot hear oncoming cars,” Brewer said in a letter to Council. “I feel that signage is necessary in order to ensure my son’s safety, …”
Noting that she is in a “Special Needs” circumstance, Brewer requested that the standard $100 per sign fee be waived in her case.
At first it seemed as if Council would be sympathetic to Brewer’s request. Councillor Gutowsi said that Danka Brewer lives on a fixed income and faces special costs for her son, so cannot afford the $200 it would cost for the signs, and Councillor Murray said, “I’ve been known to drive too fast, but I always slow down at Children at Play signs.”
Councillor Harvey then said, “I have a tough time with signs. It’s a proven fact that signs don’t do anything. Only police pressure can make a difference.”
Councillor Gutowski pointed out that Constable Grant from the OPP has been contacted, and extra patrolling has taken place in Tichborne to enforce the 50 km speed zone, with some effect.
“I have mixed feelings,” said Deputy Mayor Smith, “I don’t think a sign will promote safety.”
Councillor Putnam said “I think there are handicapped children in every Village, and we don’t have free signs for all. Besides, I don’t think they work.”
Mayor MacDonald said, “Notwithstanding the sympathies I have for this situation, I don’t know about this. I dare say that if I took off my hearing aids, I wouldn’t be able to hear the traffic in front of my house.”
In a recorded vote, Council rejected the request for an exemption from the cost of signage, with Councillors Harvey, and Putnam, Deputy Mayor Smith and Mayor MacDonald voting against, and Councillors Snyder, Murray and Gutowski voting in favour. Councillors Guigue and Nicolson were absent from the meeting.
Danka Brewer was flabbergasted when she found out about the decision. “I don’t know what we pay the Councillors for,” she said, “if they refuse to look at things individually. My son has special equipment at school, where they recognise his problem. He needs to cross the road in order to go to his bus in the morning, and he can’t hear cars coming on the road. I don’t have the income to pay the fee, but I need the sign.”