Canatara neighbours riled by ‘road bullies & loud mufflers’

Car enthusiasts gather in Canatara Park after sundown one day last week to discuss the finer points of vehicle acceleration. Randy Leeson Photo

Cathy Dobson

It’s that time of year when residents of Andover Lane sleep with the windows shut.

Even better if the air conditioning is on.

This is the season when the incessant rumble of souped-up vehicles racing through Canatara Park can be heard most nights.

“In my house, to think you’re going to sleep through the night is a fallacy,” says David Bradstock.

He moved to Andover Lane inside Canatara Park 15 years ago and quickly realized there was a noise and safety problem with drivers and modified exhaust systems congregating after the park closes at midnight.

“It’s a free country. I understand that,” said Bradstock, a 58-year-old interior designer. “But this involves drag racing and very aggressive engine revving.”

He took his complaints and a petition signed by many of his neighbours to City Hall in 2002. But nothing has changed, Bradstock said.

Coun. Anne Marie Gillis said the city hears complaints annually from residents on both sides of the park upset by loud and aggressive drivers.

“Canatara Park is to be enjoyed by everyone. A lot of people don’t realize it’s also a bird sanctuary. It’s not a dragstrip and I’m glad people are raising this issue,” said Gillis.

“We have to find solutions.”

Eighty-one-year-old Bernie Lajoie moved to Sandy Lane last year and was astonished by the noise level in Canatara late at night, he said.

“Many nights this spring, we hear them around 3 a.m., spinning their wheels and leaving the park,” said Lajoie.

He has his own petition going, with several hundred signatures on it already, calling on city council to “save Canatara Park from road bullies and loud mufflers.”

And speeding isn’t confined to inside the park, he added.

“I see them coming out of there on Sandy Lane, and you should see how fast they’re going by the time they reach Michigan Avenue.”

Sandy Lane, which turns into Alfred Street in Point Edward, has a posted speed limit 40 km/hr. It’s marked as a Community Safety Zone with increased fines, yet speeders regularly race past at 80 km/hr., Lajoie said.

He’s complained to Gillis, village officials and the OPP.

Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand said the OPP were asked last year to spend more time patrolling near the park.

The village has also installed a “speed spy” to track vehicle speeds on the street.

“At our last police board meeting we asked the police to analyze those speeds,” Hand said.

“We are considering portable speed bumps in the summer along Alfred.”

It’s going to take a joint effort by both municipalities to fix the problem, she added.

Gillis said she wants Sarnia to consider speed bumps, retractable bollards at the park entrances, increased policing, narrowing of the roadway in the park and other “traffic calming” measures.

A letter on the same issue from another concerned citizen at the May 23 meeting prompted city councillors to request a staff report.

Meanwhile, the city has earmarked $250,000 for new paving in the park and additional funding to install a crosswalk by Canada Day at the Cathcart Boulevard at Christina Street park entrance.