The public deserves to have answers’ council hears letter by father of RHVP victim

CHCH TV – February 14, 2019, 8:00 pm

Hamilton city council has unanimously passed a motion to consult a lawyer regarding the recently revealed report about poor friction conditions on the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP).

During Wednesday’s council meeting- which lasted roughly 10-hours and included a five-hour, closed door session – councillors agreed to seek legal advice on how they should proceed with an investigation into the report by Tradewind Scientific.

According to city staff, the 2013 report was never brought to the attention of the public or council and was only discovered in late 2018. It stated friction levels along the busy parkway were below expected standards and even well below in some areas.

Councillor Brad Clark reached out to David Smosarski, whose daughter died in a collision on the parkway in 2015, following news of the report. Olivia and her best friend Jordyn Hastings were killed when their car crossed the median on the RHVP and struck another vehicle.

Clark read aloud a letter written by Smosarski during Wednesday’s marathon meeting about his concerns of the recent information regarding the state of friction on the parkway.

“To this day my family does not have any answers on why the car my daughter was a passenger in lost control that night. The Hamilton Police accident reconstruction team stated the car Olivia was in skidded across the Parkway as if “on ice”. My family has always felt that there was something inherently wrong with the surface of the Parkway. This has been echoed by numerous families over the years initiated by reports of numerous accidents on the Parkway,” writes Smosarski.

He continues, “I am sure you can imagine my surprise and anger to hear that there was information pertaining to the surface of the Parkway 18 months before the passing of my daughter. I do not understand why this report was not brought to the knowledge of the public and yourselves for so many years.”

Smosarski then asks for a judicial review of the process that led to the delay in the release of the report. “The public deserves to have answers. The answers need to be delivered by an arm’s length process that has the power to affect 5.14 change and to restore trust and faith in our municipal government,” he writes.

During Wednesday meeting, council also passed a two-part motion put forward by Sam Merulla that will have the 2015 and subsequent 2019 safety analysis of the RHVP and Linc by the external engineering firm CIMA, be made public and a public education campaign that will address the recommendations from CIMA regarding the risks of speeding and distracted driving on both roads.

Last week, council voted to change the speed limit to 80 kilometres an hour from the current 90 limit between Greenhill Ave. and the QEW. They are also expediting the resurfacing of the RHVP in spring 2019.

Roughly 75,000 vehicles travel on the major roadway each day.