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Road allowance to be paved

A 46-metre road allowance will be paved with speed humps (not bumps) to allow emergency vehicles and other traffic an alternate route in Davis Bay.

A 46-metre road allowance will be paved with speed humps (not bumps) to allow emergency vehicles and other traffic an alternate route in Davis Bay.

District of Sechelt council brought the Laurel Avenue paving topic back to the July 22 committee of the whole meeting, which about 75 residents attended.

Representing 71 mainly Laurel Avenue residents who are against the paving, Bob Evermon pushed council for a "win-win situation" that would preserve a bike and pedestrian-friendly street "more in keeping with what is going into green neighbourhoods today."

Yvette Fleming represented 143 individuals from surrounding roads in favour of the paving and said until a secondary highway becomes reality, "we're in this together, so let's share the roads."

Ken Tang, director of engineering and public works, outlined various options for Laurel Avenue. His recommendation was to install stop signs at intersections as speed bumps have noise associated with them and slow emergency vehicles, while removable chained bollards would destroy the purpose of paving and potentially block emergency vehicles.

Coun. Ann Kershaw said, "Every street in the District would like to have a bike friendly street. It just doesn't work that way, and we have to share the load."

Coun. Alice Lutes, who said she has experience being rushed to hospital by ambulance, spoke of the pain and delay that speed bumps cause an ambulance and the patient riding inside. She advocated for paving and reviewing traffic usage in six months time.

Coun. Warren Allan said other residents in Davis Bay have been shouldering the burden of traffic rerouting and said it was only fair to disperse it more evenly, but added he has seen for himself how dangerous one intersection is.

"A four-way stop would increase traffic calming in upper Laurel Avenue and stop the abuse of that single stop at Ridgeview," Allan said.

Coun. Fred Taylor was in favour of removable bollards for emergency purposes and supported keeping out through-traffic.

Things quickly became confusing when the vote was taken. Lutes, Kershaw and Allan voted for the paving with stop signs while Taylor, Coun. Alice Janisch and Mayor Darren Inkster opposed. Coun. Keith Thirkell was absent, and staff informed council that a tie vote meant the motion had passed. After a two-minute break of the meeting, staff informed council who then informed the public of whom only a handful remained, that a tie actually meant the motion was defeated.

Council re-debated the issue and passed a new motion, suggested by Janisch, to pave with the addition of speed humps, which are wider and more rolling than bumps. Only Allan opposed.

"We'll continue to monitor things up there and other traffic calming measures will be brought in [as needed]," said Rob Bremner, chief administrative officer.

Sunshine Coast RCMP will also be requested to keep a close eye on Laurel Avenue once the road allowance has been paved.