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Residents voice frustration with Gibsons traffic calming measures: Council briefs

Gibsons Council briefs from its Jan. 11 meeting
Gibsons Municipal Hall
Also discussed at council: stormwater management, Gower Point Road, Holland Lands and more.

The following are briefs from the Jan. 11 Town of Gibsons regular council meeting.

Glassford Road and Blain Lane traffic calming

Gower Point Road resident Mark Evans expressed frustration with what he said was a lack of consultation or notice about the temporary closure of Blain Lane. “I woke up on Nov. 25 to find that Blain Lane had been closed with no notification,” he said. He reported that he contacted the fire department, RCMP and BC Ambulance and was told that staff in charge at the local level were not consulted about the closure. “This has seriously interrupted traffic flows and emergency service vehicle to 50 some residences… it is a huge disservice to the public, especially the people on Dogwood Road.” he said. As an example of that disservice, Evans pointed out that the closure adds seven minutes to vehicle travel time between his home and the firehall
The town closed the lane to offset impacts of the August 2021 trial closure of vehicle access between Glassford and Gower Point Roads. That adjustment was done to assess options to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles that share that neighbourhood road. In Evans' view, the town has not adequately assessed the risks or identified hazards that result from either closure.  
At the meeting, director of engineering Dave Newman reported that after Glassford was closed last August, traffic volume on Blain went from 8 to 56 vehicles a day, and a decision was made to temporarily close the lane. He said staff are awaiting the results of updated traffic counts before reporting back to council on the potential for permanent closures. He noted that the town would also be conducting a survey of area residents views on the subject in February and that information would also be included in that report. 
Resident Dennise Dombroski asked council to expand the assessment of the Glassford Road traffic calming alternatives to include details on how those impact options for the addition of a lot to that street. She said that information related to traffic calming and the potential lot should not be separated.

Gower Point Road changes

Newman also provided an update on potential traffic calming on Gower Point Road slated to be considered with the development of the Gospel Rock property. He advised council that two of the four proposals for adjustments put forward to address traffic impacts from that project would be explored in a report that would come forward as part of the town’s 2022 budget process.
Limiting public discussion of options raised concerns for resident Suzanne Senger. She said that it “was important to get all information in front of the public.”

Consultation on redevelopment planning for the town’s Holland Lands also drew scrutiny from members of the public who attended the online meeting.“It feels like it is already going ahead and that decisions have already been made,” resident Judith Bonkoff remarked.  
Acting Mayor David Croal explained that the report on redevelopment options included on the meeting’s agenda had been forwarded to the organizations that are existing tenants on the land. Those groups, which include the Gibsons and District Public Library, the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives and others, have until Jan. 19 to provide their comments. That input will focus on whether each organization favours an incremental approach to expanding facilities and uses or site-wide scale “transformational re-development." Once those views are known, the information will come back to council before the subject is referred to a public consultation, likely in mid to late February.

Stormwater management

Staff were authorized to work with consulting firm Urban Systems to develop a grant application for up to $1 million in senior government funding for Goosebird Creek channel and natural habitat improvements. The work being planned for would be conducted within Labonte Park and other areas extending from the Bay Road area to the ocean and was recommended as part of the Gibsons’ 2018 Integrated Stormwater Management Plan. A grant from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) could provide 73.3 per cent of project’s budget. 
Once developed, the application will come back to council, for a motion to commit to the town’s portion of the potential project’s funding. Those funds would not be spent unless the grant application is successful.  
Councillor Aleria Ladwig expressed disappointment that an ICIP application for the Chaster Creek monitoring project was not recommended by staff. Newman explained that as that project focuses on planning rather that construction, it was not as strong of a candidate for the grant. He committed to bring that project forward 2022 pre-budget approval so that if approved, monitoring could start in April. 

Tourism Committee Appointment

Councillor Stafford Lumley was appointed as the town’s representative on the South Coast Tourism Advisory Committee at the meeting. The committee has been set up to increase communications between Sunshine Coast Tourism and its stakeholders, through updates on marketing activities, strategic planning, visitor services and destination development.