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Davis Bay group calls for highway improvements

Issues include poor drainage, severe ponding and absence of sidewalk

A neighbourhood association has asked Sechelt council to fix up Highway 101 along the waterfront commercial stretch in Davis Bay.

“Highway 101 between Pier 17 and Bay Road has been an ongoing problem area due to poor drainage and severe ponding and the absence of a sidewalk on the easterly side,” said a Feb. 8 letter from the Davis Bay-Wilson Creek-Selma Park Community Association, and matters were made worse in January during a storm event.

On Jan. 13 a storm forced the closure of Highway 101 between Davis Bay Road and Westley Road after installed floodgates were breached and the road flooded.

The area provides “significant outdoor recreation, education and tourist attractions that serve Sechelt residents and tourists,” said the letter, which noted several businesses along that section of highway, including the newly renovated Bella Beach Inn, “are economic assets in the district.”

The association asked council to allocate funding to start working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) to design and implement improvements to the tourism hotspot.

Plans had already been underway in 2009 to make improvements but were cancelled after MOTI “failed to commit to its share,” said the letter.

It also noted improvements were outlined on an “intermediate” timeline in a 2020 corridor study commissioned by MOTI, including intersection improvements, signalization, and passing lanes.

The association said that timeline was “inadequate” and the improvements should be made a short-term priority, to be completed before 2025.

At a Feb. 17 meeting, Mayor Darnelda Siegers said district representatives would be meeting with MOTI the week of Feb. 22 and could make a request.

Coun. Alton Toth asked if a partnership could be possible with the Bella Beach motel owner and Siegers said that could be addressed.

Coun. Matt McLean said the district should talk to MOTI about partnerships for other projects as well, including along Wharf Avenue and at Trail and Shorncliffe. “We’re willing to fund it, how can we work together to make it happen,” he said.