Sechelt council’s committee of the whole has sealed the fate of the contentious traffic bollards on Baillie Road in West Sechelt – voting to recommend the bollards be permanently removed after reviewing the results of a traffic study.
The district first removed the bollards, which were installed to keep heavy construction traffic from using the road, in 2015.
Neighbourhood outcry led to their reinstallation, but in 2017 a Municipal Insurance Association risk management report said the bollards were a safety risk and liability because they might delay emergency responses.
Once again, though, public outcry led to council allowing the bollards to stay in place.
The current council voted in May to remove them on a trial basis, and take before-and-after traffic counts. The counts found that an extra 30 to 40 vehicles per day were using the road after the removal of the bollards, and there was no increase in average speeds.
“We’re finding that the road is operating as it should. The road design can take 900 vehicles per day, and we are well below that,” said Darwyn Kutney, director of engineering and operations.
“This whole process has been interesting,” said Mayor Darnelda Siegers. “We had a few residents in the area who were very much against having the bollards removed. Since we took them out and they’ve actually lived with it for a while, they’ve commented that they’re enjoying having them out.”
The committee recommendation will go to full council for endorsement early next month.
Abandoned boats update
Councillors had an update on efforts to deal with derelict and abandoned vessels in Porpoise Bay as part of the engineering department’s regular report.
The district received a $70,000 grant early last year under the federal government’s abandoned boats program, which it’s been using to assess problem boats.
Sechelt public works supervisor John Devison told council’s committee of the whole Nov. 27 that the federal government will provide money from the Small Craft Harbours program to dispose of a 40-foot abandoned vessel that was surrendered to the district by the owner and hauled out of the water to the works yard, creating a bit of a Catch-22 for the district because federal funding for disposal only applies to boats still in the water.
Devison said the public works crew has already dealt with three boats itself, and continues to work with the Vancouver Island-based Dead Boats Society. “They’re assisting me quite a lot,” Devison told the committee, adding most of the assistance has been in dealing with the paperwork required under the federal program. “It’s still going forward and things are getting removed from the water.”
Devison and Mayor Darnelda Siegers also talked about taking a Coast-wide approach to the issue.
“There will be a meeting soon with the District of Sechelt, the regional district and the Town of Gibsons,” Siegers said. “We need to look at some kind of consolidated effort – that will be coming in the next little while.”
“It is not Sechelt’s problem, it’s the Sunshine Coast’s problem,” Devison said. “With the district, Gibsons and all of us together, it will be the best way to go.”