Led by the seniors who live in Manotick Place and the Miller Apartments, the residents of Manotick had their largest ever demonstration against heavy truck traffic in the village on Wed., Sept. 14.
Seniors from Manotick Place Retirement Community and the Miller Seniors Apartments were joined by parents with strollers, neighbors, and friends of Manotick in a “walk” to advocate for the health and safety of all residents in the face of 800-plus heavy trucks that roll through the village every day. Organizers also thank the election candidates “who had the courage of their conviction to come out and walk with us.”
Many truckers even gave the protestors a “thumbs up” and a honk on the horn to express their support as well.
“Many have told us they are tired and scared on driving through the community given the risks to others on the streets,” said Monty Doyle, one of the organizers of the walk. “And just to be clear, we all appreciate truck drivers. Their essential role was never more visible nor appreciated than during the past two years.”
Doyle said the news of the walk drew a lot of attention and serious questions from people in the community who depend on trucks for their business and livelihood.
“Our aim is to get the heavy truck through-traffic off of Bridge and Main streets and relocated to the roads and bridges designed for them such as the Vimy bridge and Armstrong road and Roger Stevens/Snake Island Road,” Doyle said. “By ‘heavy trucks’ we mean just that: the big, tandem rigs, the 83 footers, dump trucks and stone slingers, truss trucks and long haulers en route to or from Montreal and Toronto. We are not talking about any truck that has a local delivery destination such as retail and grocery stores, restaurants, hardware stores, or to deliver goods and services to any local business or home etc. In short, we are not talking about the trucks and vehicles that are part of the our daily life of our community. And of course, we don’t include emergency vehicles (ambulance, fire, police) or city services such as mail and garbage.”
Doyle said that what Manotick residents do not want is the ‘heavy truck’ through-traffic simply looking for the cheapest way to get from their origin to destination, thereby transferring their transportation costs on the residents of Manotick as social costs.
“A whole lot of people stood up today and said they’re tired of paying the freight for corporate convenience,” Doyle said at the protest. “ It’s time to rebalance the corporate benefit at public expense equation.”
Doyle said the immediate goal of the protest was to ensure that all election candidates for Ward 21 understand the seriousness, urgency and growth of this issue and its importance to the community. The second goal is to “support our new Ward 21 Councilor in bringing this forward as a priority for the new City Council and administration.” Doyle said the third goal is to propose a series of simple, low cost, low tech improvements to street safety such as longer traffic light “walk” signals; seniors’ crossing signs and so on. He added that the local seniors are ready to be part of the discussions and negotiations with all stakeholders to get to a Win-Win solution.
“Nothing will change if the trucking companies and their trade associations don’t stand up and show their civic leadership,” Doyle said. “They need to be part of the advocacy for change. They must be ready to sit down with a new Council and city administration and our community associations for frank discussions on this issue. What is our preferred future? How do we work together to build a plan for a sustainable future for our community, for our economy, for our kids and families and business owners and for our environment.”