What we have along a couple rural roads in Central Saanich boils down to a neighbour dispute.
One that has apparently degenerated into varying levels of name-calling and anger by both sides — and that’s something no one wants and what we’re trying to avoid.
It’s the nasty side of an issue looming over the District council as it tries to come up with a solution that will stand up to legal challenges. And that might well be where the matter goes, as what the council comes up with might not please some people — or all people.
We don’t envy the District council this task. However, it does seem to be an issue of their own creating.
There seems to be a significant gray area around the operating of commercial vehicles on rural roads in the municipality. While the roads in question were not designed for prolonged use by heavy truck traffic, they have been used for that purpose on occasion. Yet, not to the extent they have been since a business started operating nearby the residential area.
The matter of enforcing a blanket commercial vehicle or heavy truck ban then, becomes problematic. How can the District make exceptions for some commercial traffic — such as moving vans or trucks delivering hay — while targeting what residents feel is an abuse of those roads?
At the same time, what the residents are complaining about are people’s livelihoods. It’s understandable that the truck drivers are going to stand up for themselves.
However this issue got started, it’s now up to the District to find a solution by May 21 — the date a ban on heavy truck traffic comes to an end. That deadline may still be extended, of course, but that will simply perpetuate the problem — a problem made worse by hostile attitudes between residents and workers, caught on either side of a road that was never designed to carry that weight.
We encourage both sides in this dispute to cool off and work with the District, rather than getting caught up in emotion and getting off track.