'Something had to be done': Calls for new safety measures near Grand River
Published Thursday, March 8, 2018 8:54AM EST
Two weeks after Kaden Young’s disappearance, people concerned about preventing similar tragedies made their case to local politicians.
Young was in a minivan that was swept into the Grand River on Feb. 21 after his mother drove down a closed road near the river, which had spilled its banks.
The three year old’s mother told police that she had been able to grab the boy out of the minivan, but was pushed over by the raging river and lost her grip on him.
Wednesday morning, Amaranth Township councillors were presented with a petition signed by more than 1,000 people seeking new safety measures for the river in that section of the township.
“Everybody felt that something had to be done to make our community safer,” said Trish Hamilton.
Specific measures Hamilton suggested included a guardrail along the river, lights for Highway 25 as it winds its way along the water, and replacing the current road closure sawhorses with larger signs equipped with flashing lights.
“That would help a lot in foggy and icy conditions,” she said.
Kimberley McCullough, an 18-year resident of Amaranth, says she’s had plenty of experiences of inching her way along rural roads, barely able to make out anything in front of her during bouts of bad weather.
She says she’d like to see road closure signs deployed at more intersections.
“All of a sudden the road’s closed, and I’ve been driving on it for five minutes,” she said.
Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver says the township is “very, very receptive” to the idea of installing a guardrail.
“If they feel that a guardrail will safeguard residents in the future, this council will be very supportive,” he said.
MacIver said he wants to hear from experts about the right length, design and placement of the guardrail.
Those issues also matter to Jane Aultman – the township’s deputy mayor and a resident of Waldemar, the community closest to where the minivan entered the river.
“It’s very important that we do it right,” she said.
“The water that night was exceptional. A normal guardrail … would not have been sufficient.”
A report on the issue is expected to be ready by next month.
With files from CTV Barrie