There’s more than meets the eye to the notion of moving the main vehicle access for the Hartland landfill from Hartland Road to Willis Point Road, according to CRD Juan de Fuca Area director Mike Hicks.
During the environmental services committee meeting on Wednesday, July 15, Hicks, who represents the Willis Point area, told CRD staff they are vastly understating the effect of shifting the main commercial entry point to the landfill.
Quoting a consultant’s report that characterized the impact of the added traffic as “not significant,” he told the committee, “Nothing in my mind could be further from the truth.”
Hicks argued that not only does Willis Point Road service a larger number of homes than Hartland Road and host regular recreational user traffic, it is an increasingly busy access route for drivers from the West Shore – via Millstream, Millstream Lake and Ross Durrance roads – to reach the Saanich Peninsula.
The traffic analysis report prepared by Bunt and Associates noted that the portion of Willis Point Road that would be used by trucks accessing the landfill is not in a residential area. It also stated that an additional passing lane would not be necessary on the road, given current traffic volumes and for the fact it would likely increase speeding by motorists passing the trucks.
Stantec Consulting was also engaged last fall to do a cost estimate for the construction of a passing lane, which ultimately came out to just over $5 million for a roughly 1.75-kilometre stretch.
Hicks and committee member and CRD board chair Colin Plant questioned the need for such a lengthy section for road improvements. Costing out a shorter passing lane on a less steep section became part of the final directive from the committee to staff.
Others included detailing more fully the operational needs behind shifting the access, engaging further with residents of Willis Point, and conducting a current season traffic count – the previous count was done during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic locally.
Moving the main commercial access to Willis Point Road is part of the Hartland 2100 plan, which aims to extend the life of the landfill from the year 2045 to 2100. Larisa Hutcheson, CRD general manager of parks and environmental services, explained that the move ties in directly with plans to begin landfilling in the north portion of the Hartland property.
Accessing the new section of the landfill from a closer entry point lessens the need to travel through the existing landfill, she said.
No time frame was set out for the committee’s receipt of the requested information. Nonetheless, Hicks predicted the next discussion about the matter to attract dozens of interested parties.