After 45 minutes of debate, Niagara-on-the-Lake councillors decided they will do nothing about the route for the Pedal Pub.
At the end of July, council tasked town staff to work with the Pedal Pub to come up with alternative routes for the business after several councillors took issue with the mobile pub running down two of the busiest streets in the municipality, Queen and Mississagua.
During a two-part council meeting that concluded on Sept. 3, councillors were chiefly worried about safety – and Lord Mayor Betty Disero wanted a route that would allow the Pedal Pub to go to wineries. The attraction is also not supposed to operate on residential streets.
Routes to wineries were incompatible with the business because it would make the trips too long, director of operations Sheldon Randall said after having discussions with the company.
Staff presented their alternative routes to council on Aug. 30. The new routes had the Pedal Pub routing east on Mary Street, down King Street and pulling into the parking lot behind the old Court House, then popping out on Queen Street for the journey home via Mississagua Street.
The staff-recommended option had the Pedal Pub embark and disembark behind the Court House when in Old Town. This was seen as the safest option for customers and is the same area where the Heritage shuttle stops.
But some councillors said this route was counter productive.
“This looks to be worse than the (original route),” Coun. Norm Arsenault said.
Arsenault was unhappy that the new route had the pedal pub going down four major streets instead of the two it was previously on.
He presented an alternative route that would see it rolling down Mississagua Street and turning onto Centre Street before using Simcoe Street to get into the Queen-Picton area.
Arsenault thought this was a good compromise since it involved the pub spending less time on Mississagua.
It did not receive enough votes to pass.
Disero said she was worried about safety on Queen Street while the Pedal Pub operates, a concern Coun. Sandra O’Connor shared.
Coun. Erwin Wiens argued for fairness in treating the Pedal Pub like similar businesses.
“If the Pedal Pub isn’t safe (on Queen Street) then neither is the horse and carriage and neither is the people who park in the middle of the road. I was just at the bank and there was a UPS truck parked right dead-centre in the road, unloading,” Wiens said.
“I didn’t think it was unsafe for any of those people. There’s no evidence of it not being safe.”
Arsenault agreed, saying the horse and carriage businesses, and crowding on Queen Street actually reduces traffic speed and makes it safer.
Coun. Allan Bisback was supportive of option 1, which would have seen the Pedal Pub park behind the court building to disembark.
“We don’t seem to want to interfere in the routing of cycle companies and carriage companies but we seem to want to do that here. So, I’m supportive of the staff recommendation,” Bisback said.
Approval of a new route was defeated in a 5-3 vote, with Wiens, Bisback and Coun. Clare Cameron voting in favour of the new route. This defeat meant Pedal Pub defaulted to its original route.
“That was my fear when I spoke and said, ‘We’re going to end up with a dilemma,’ ” Disero said.
Evan Saunders, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report