Canada Day is quickly approaching and many people in the Halton Region, and across the country will soon be starting, if they haven’t already, to think about how they are going to celebrate this year. However, the town of Oakville has been discussing this year’s Canada Day celebrations for quite some time now.
Last year, the town of Oakville held a Canada Day celebration on July 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park.
“The event was designed to focus on the fireworks display at 10 p.m. and offered a variety of small-scale, low-cost activities in the park starting at 6 p.m. to encourage a phased arrival of large crowds,” reads a recent (June 10, 2019) special council meeting report. “The event welcomed an estimated 35,000 attendees to the fireworks display.”
During last year’s event, attendees were encouraged to take advantage of the Oakville Transit shuttle from the Bronte GO Station.
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“The shuttle dropped off passengers at Marine Drive and Jones Street allowing patrons easy access to the park walking south on Jones,” notes the report. “When the event concluded at 10:25 p.m., 20 transit buses were stacked up along Marine Drive and Bronte Road. The crowds lined up south on Jones Street and along Marine Drive boarding [two] buses at a time. Transit and event staff were able to load all attendees in an efficient manner with no issues or incidents with most of the crowd dispersed and on the shuttles by 11:15 p.m.”
In addition, there were some road closures in effect.
“Full road closures began at 5 p.m., closing Lakeshore Road as well as the streets south of Lakeshore from Bronte Road to Jones Street,” notes the report. “The road closures allowed a dedicated transit lane and increased pedestrian flow. Lanes were also available to provide access to/from all driveways and underground parking lots in the closed area. This also minimized the amount of pedestrian traffic having to cross over Lakeshore Road and greatly improved safety and manageability of traffic for Halton Regional Police stationed at the intersections along Lakeshore Road.”
And in September of last year, council approved the recommendations to continue the town-delivered event in the same format.
However, according to the report, on May 28, 2019, the Bronte BIA distributed a motion to council for the town to find an alternative route for the shuttling of buses, and that the businesses along Bronte Road and in the village be allowed to open their doors on Canada Day.
Two members of the BIA met with town staff in May and raised issues regarding the road closures noting that businesses in the area would like to take greater advantage of the sidewalk area during the event.
The two members raised concerns with the use of Bronte Road, south of Lakeshore, for the shuttle. Staff then discussed alternative route options, with one suggestion being that the shuttle drop off be moved to Lakeshore Road and Jones Street. This option, as noted in the report, was said to be feasible, however, not preferred.
Ultimately, it has been recommended that transit Route 1 (with a drop off/pick up point at Marine Drive and Jones Street) be maintained for this year’s Canada Day event in Oakville. However, it was also recommended for the town to consult with the Bronte BIA with options for next year’s event.