Residents on Hovey and Tomlinson roads have complained to the B.C. Ombudsperson’s office that the Central Saanich District council has dragged its feet over their traffic issues and have asked them to see whether the council followed proper process on the file to date.
While the Ombudsperson’s office has apparently told the residents’ group that they’re looking into it, people should be prepared for a variety of outcomes — including the possibility that the council has done what it can, within its policies and procedures. Taking a long time to deal with the matter might not constitute something that the Ombudsperson’s office can comment on.
The Ombudsperson’s office, according to its website, conducts a preliminary assessment, to see whether they have jurisdiction or whether a complaint has the merit to start an investigation.
That will be key. As will be whether what Central Saanich has done is fair.
The issue of truck traffic on a road that was not designed for prolonged use — and didn’t allow for it in the first place — became complicated when a business set up shop on land controlled by the Tsartlip First Nation. Central Saanich doesn’t have jurisdiction there. They do over their own roads, but it appears there had been tacit approval for the odd truck using those roads, whether that be for farm deliveries or other purposes. That seems to have created a situation where the business, VI Pallet, figured it was OK for them to use the road.
Whether they were right was immediately tested by the residents. And when Central Saanich didn’t stop VI Pallet right away, as they looked into their bylaws, the situation got worse. Both sides of this conflict do not get along and the animosity only makes it harder for the District to get a handle on the matter.
Central Saanich is, however, taking action in the form of a moratorium on truck traffic and reviewing their policies regarding those rural roads.
It has taken them too long to get to this point, but that might not constitute the basis for a full-scale investigation.