Central Saanich has asked Saanich for council-to-council meeting to address mutual transportation concerns.
“Both councils I know are very serious about traffic safety improvements, active transportation improvements and those pieces,” said Coun. Niall Paltiel, who proposed the concept.
He said both communities would benefit from such a joint meeting because of the many transportation routes that connect. They include the Lochside Trail, Wallace Drive, West Saanich Road and Highway 17.
“Those kinds of transportation issues, especially along those collectors roads, do not know municipal boundaries,” he said in pointing out that both communities share a significant border. “They are shared issues and priorities.”
He believes local politicians can do a better job ensuring residents can travel through each municipality safely and effectively.”
“A great example of that is along West Saanich Road, where on the Central Saanich side, going out of Brentwood Bay, the speed limit is at 40 km/h, on the Saanich side it then increases to 60 km/h. We received a letter from Saanich saying that their residents are concerned about traffic safety.” Central Saanich, he added, also aims to make West Saanich Road safer for pedestrians and cyclists. “Doing it better for me means starting the conversation as politicians to politicians.”
That conversation will not initially include officials from the provincial government, which is responsible for the most important route between the two communities – Highway 17.
While Paltiel acknowledged the importance of the provincial government, he said it would be “extremely helpful” for the two municipalities to first agree on their mutual transportation priorities. “That definitely helped Central Saanich in our lobbying efforts for Highway 17 funding,” he said.
One of the issues likely high on the agenda is the question of commercial truck through Saanich on the way to Central Saanich. Mayor Fred Haynes of Saanich said he recently met rural Saanich residents concerned about commercial trucks believed to be in contravention of Saanich’s truck route bylaw by using rural roads not defined as a truck route unless making local deliveries.
(By way of background, Highway 17 and West Saanich Road are the only two roads identified as truck routes between the communities).
“The Saanich Police Department has conducted enforcement along many of these routes but they have limited resources to be deployed on an ongoing basis,” said Haynes in a letter dated Sept. 24 to Central Saanich council in asking for a meeting. “We have also replaced a number of the truck restrictions signs on rural roads but residents feel this has done little to change the behaviour.”
Central Saanich council considered Haynes’ letter at their last meeting Monday and it sparked Paltiel to explore the possibilitiy of a joint meeting.
It is not clear yet when that meeting will take place, because Saanich has not yet taken up the invitation, but Paltiel hopes to have something take place later in the fall.