PORT McNEILL—A resolution by the City of Victoria to reduce speed limits in municipal areas did not get much traction in council chambers last week. It did, however, spur a vigorous discussion of safety on town streets and a motion calling for the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to respond to a year-old request for a four-way stop at the entrance to town.
“I personally would like to see the (stop sign) on Mine Road continue to be pursued,” coun. Gaby Wickstrom said. “That is a recipe for disaster. That one I’ve heard of and seen near-misses.”
Council originally requested a four-way stop at Campbell Way and Mine Road more than a year ago, after a pedestrian was struck in a marked and lighted crosswalk there.
Councillors cited the four-way stop at Highway 19 and Granville in Port Hardy as a way to emphasize to motorists they are entering a municipality while also increasing safety for pedestrians and cross traffic.
Coun. Shirley Ackland called for a motion for a letter to the Ministry of Highways asking for a response to the town’s earlier request for that four-way stop and other traffic control concerns.
“We should identify the ones that have been brought up and ask (the Ministry) for an update,” said Ackland. “Has there been consideration for these as we’re getting into the nice time of year, where kids are out on the road? We’d just like to know if there’s going to be something done at this point in time.”
Council approved the motion unanimously.
The topic resulted from a request by Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin for motions of support for Victoria’s request for a discussion of municipal speed limits at the upcoming Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention.
“I think that the idea is good in principal, but I’m not sure it’s going to slow anybody down,” said Wickstrom, who operates Oceanside Driving School in Port McNeill. “I think the person that’s inclined to speed in those areas, I don’t think changing the speed limit is going change their behaviour.”
Council accepted a notice from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development that the Town had just received a deposit of $85,096 through its latest Small Community Grant program.
When asked whether the funds came with restrictions on their use, treasurer Albert Sweet answered negatively, and added the funds have already been included in the town’s general budget.
“Last year they advanced us on 2013’s funds, that’s why the amount’s so small,” said Sweet. “Last year, in March, we got over $200,000 in strategic funds. We’re getting our last installment June 30 of just over $200,000 this year. That was in the budget working papers.”
Council will observe and record behaviour at the new loading dock before making any decision about regulations or fee adjustments.
The large, concrete dock was delivered to the harbour last summer, but the final ramp installation was not completed until late 2012, and the facility is just coming into its first season.
“At our last meeting they were interested in the fee schedule for off-loading and the storage, how the dock is being used,” said coun. Chris Sharpe, who represents the Town on the Harbour Committee. “I suggested that it’s in its infancy right now and it’s hard to tell how it’s all going to come about.
“Basically, I suggested we monitor it for the time being, see how it’s being used.”
Coun. Wickstrom asked if Sharpe and the committee could establish interim guidelines to ensure the dock did not become overrun with unsightly stored items, like totes.
“The Harbour manager has authority to direct the users, certainly in the interest of public safety, but also for the conveniences of businesses using the dock,” Mayor Gerry Furney said.