Estevan is one step closer to having lower speed limits on most of the city's roads.
A plebiscite on whether to reduce speed limits from 50 to 40 kilometres per hour passed by a razor-thin margin during the October 24 civic election.
The total number of “yes” votes was 1,468, while the total number of “no” votes was 1,442. There were 2,910 votes on the speed limit question, which means there were almost as many votes as the 3,018 who voted for mayor.
The concept of reduced speed limits received overwhelming support from those who live in senior care homes and other such facilities. Seventy-six of 88 people who participated in one mobile poll voted in favour of the motion, and 89 of 102 in another mobile poll backed reduced speed limits.
But at the two busiest polling stations – the Estevan Church of God and the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum – the voters favoured the status quo. A total of 601 of the 1,100 people who voted at the Church of God want to keep the speed limits at 50. The church was the polling station for those who live north of King Street.
And 475 of the 889 who voted at the EAGM – which was the polling station for those who live south of Sixth Street – support speed limits at 50 kilometres per hour.
The speed limit issue has been discussed by Council for several years. Council seriously studied the possibility of reducing the speed limits prior to the 2009 civic election, but backed off on the issue after an acrimonious response from the public.
They looked at the issue again in 2011, but ultimately decided to keep speed limits at 50 kilometres per hour. They discussed the issue again this year, and then they decided to seek the public's input.
Since it’s a plebiscite, the results aren’t binding. Council has the option of deciding whether to keep speeds at their current level.
If Council opts to reduce the speed limits, the roads that wouldn't be affected would be: Fourth Street, Kensington Avenue, King Street, Souris Avenue/Highway 47, Perkins Street, Mississippian Drive, Sixth Street, Superior Road, Devonian Street, Imperial Avenue, Escana Street and Superior Avenue. There would not be a reduction in speed for residential subdivisions on Fourth, Sixth, King, Perkins and Souris.