Save Woodstock Travel Plaza sign now

On Wednesday September 30th, 2009 the HMS Host Woodstock Travel Plaza is slated to close due to lease agreements with the Ontario government. We petition that the government keep the site open not only for the sake of 140 jobs, but also for the safety of the traveling public. As it stands right now the MTO has not introduced a re-build schedule and could be up to 5 years until all closed plazas including Woodstock are re-built.

Woodstock Travel Plaza is amongst one of the busiest plazas along the 401, and the busiest that is slated to close. This speaks volumes in terms of the associates that run our everyday operations. Not only do we have 125 associates working within the plaza, there is also a fully staffed ESSO gas station that is affected, totaling 140 jobs. In the midst of this economic crisis we are only contributing to the unemployment rate, which in the area, is on average 9.2\%, with the closest city being London, and they are already sitting at an all time high of 10.1\%. Can we even begin to entertain the idea of adding to these already sore numbers? The government is promoting the idea of creating jobs and maintaining existing ones, however, these 140 jobs have been overlooked. Our company has done their part in providing us with answers to our questions involving the closure, now we need answers from the government. We have put the effort into making the travelers day better, now we need you to put the effort into saving this plaza so we can provide the same service and continue making the already long commute, for so many, a little bit easier.

Highway safety is such a high profile issue especially with the recent spike in accident numbers along the 400 series highways. From the time you enter this province, in Windsor, you already have to travel 250 km to get to the Woodstock Travel Plaza due to recent closures in Tilbury and Dutton. If Woodstock closes, we are forcing people to travel an extra 65 kilometers to the Cambridge Travel Plaza. The government is not only contradicting themselves in regards to highway fatigue, but are now putting travelers personal safety in jeopardy. The travel plazas that are now set up with temporary services have washrooms and vending machines, however they do not provide 24 hour supervision and you are stopping there at your own risk. Truck drivers have expressed their concerns with this because it not only leaves limited options but they will no longer have the comfort of 24-hour service. Truck drivers have to vie for different options because many small towns do not allow such heavy trucks to travel along roads, in turn adding stress to their once routine drive. Where will they stop? How will this affect their route and their overall travel time? Family vacations will also be affected, they will think twice about using the Michigan border crossing because of the long drive ahead. There are very few options for them to stop. The highway Travel Plazas, such as Woodstock, are a huge convenience because it avoids getting off the highway and adding time to their trip. We need these highway Travel Plazas; they affect the overall safety of the road and will contribute to safer roads and fewer accidents.

The biggest stress of all is that we do not have any timeline for a re-build. We understand that for some buildings you must close to re-build, but Woodstock has plenty of land and we need to know why they can not build elsewhere on the property, allowing the well traveled plaza to stay open to serve our customers and continue our business. We could all handle this a little better if we had a guaranteed timeline of the re-builds and knew what was going to happen. The MTO needs to provide us with satisfying answers and look out for the best interest for the public. How long can we go like this? Four plazas throughout the province close on September 30th how can the government warrant this? We need to be granted an extension on our lease not only for the sake of the employees but also for every single person that travels along our highway. Our highways are a main artery of this province and we are collapsing them slowly. We need answers and the public needs answers.

We are asking for a further extension on our lease that right now will end September 30th, 2009. This is not an unreasonable request by any means. We have proven for many years that this plaza is needed and we have met demands of the traveling public. We can only hope that this matter is not taken lightly and we are very serious about this issue. Our job is our passion and we honestly believe that closing the doors would have a lasting affect for years to come. Please see attached signatures that support all of our concerns and show how many people this plaza really does affect.

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Maxine FowlerBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
Ontario Government

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