Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer will be drafting a letter to the Island Corridor Foundation to possibly use the rail route as a connector for Qualicum Beach schools.
Council passed a motion Monday (May 28) for Luchtmeijer, who is council’s ICF liaison and who works with the province on traffic solutions, to work with staff to draft a letter for the ICF for the possibility of using the rail route as a connector route.
“If we can show that the corridor is important to us — so important that we’re willing to improve it to make sure that our kids gets to school safely — that might be a step in the right direction for either allowing us to pave a pathway between the rails or alongside the rails to use it for a community safety program.”
Luchtmeijer also said there are a number of big changes coming to the ICF. He said there are “rumblings in the province that they are not very supportive of the program” and that ICF CEO Graham Bruce’s contract is expiring in July and “apparently he’s retiring.”
“With the shakeups that are coming down the pipe, we have an opportunity here and we just can’t keep putting this off,” Luchtmeijer said.
The motion for the letter came about through a presentation from engineering director Bob Weir on the Hoylake Road Trail. Council had previously made motions for staff to review and make recommendations for safe crossings for Arbutus Street (near Harlech Road, the railway tracks and trail) and Canyon Crescent at Hoylake Road West; and for staff to provide a report on how and when the school connector improvements for Arbutus and Hoylake of the Age-Friendly Transportation Plan could be implemented.
There is currently a paved trailway running parallel to Hoylake Road, but according to staff there is an incomplete section of the school connector route (trails connecting Arrowview Elementary, Kwalikum Secondary and Qualicum Beach Elementary schools) between Arbutus Road an Canyon Crescent and the physical configuration of the Grandon Creek Ravine “presents challenges to the construction of this section.”
Weir said the railway on the south side of Hoylake Road has “perfect alignment” for a trail and is a “very low-cost solution.”
“The railway track itself provides the perfect coordinates if the issues with the Island Corridor Foundation could be resolved.”
Staff gave council four alternatives for the connector. Council approved alternative four, which would widen the shoulders of the roadway on Hoylake Road and remove trees to improve sight distance and mark temporary crossings of the roadway where Hoylake Road, Canyon Crescent and the driveway access to the Grandon Creek condominiums converge.