Residents in the Chartwell subdivision have signed a petition requesting the Town of Qualicum Beach to reduce the speed limit in their neighbourhood.
Gary Young presented the petition to town council as a delegation, highlighting concerns about vehicles speeding in their community.
“It’s getting so bad now people are having to jump off the roads to get away from it,” said Young. “And on top of it, we have more and more seniors that are out walking everyday. And these speeding cars, are just unreal how fast they will travel in the subdivision.”
Young indicated they have reported it to the Oceanside RCMP and also handed them a copy of the petition of the residents. He said they understand the RCMP is understaffed and can’t designate an officer to monitor their area.
As well, Young informed council of another concern residents have to deal with on a daily basis, pointing out the ‘Y shape’ of the road at the corner of Meraloma and Chartwell.
“With that shape, the cars are cutting the corners like crazy,” Young said. “And in this particular meeting of the two roads, there was a three-and-a-half hour observation carried. And out of that, there was 111 cars that came through that. The worst part about it was there were 78 people that did not even stop. They just drove straight out and then cut around. Now that in itself is bad enough but the other ones where they’re going on the shape of the Y, they caused people to have to jump off the highway completely onto the lawns and in some cases they’ve had to jump because of the cars coming so close to them that if they had stayed there they would have been hit by the car.”
The petition requests council consider reducing the speed limit to 35 kilometres per hour or to reconfigure the shape of the road.
“Make it a T instead of what we call a Y as it is going to cause somebody to be killed there, without any doubt,” said Young.
Coun. Scott Harrison informed council of a pilot project being conducted in other jurisdictions on Vancouver Island to reduce residential speed limits. He suggested the town could also start one in Chartwell and asked staff be directed to come up with a report.
Mayor Brian Wiese liked Harrison’s suggestion but prefers involving other problem areas as well.
“Maybe a pilot project is right but I think it should go to the special committee on public safety first,” said Wiese.
Coun. Robert Filmer said traffic-calming measures like the ones applied by the City of Nanaimo might be more cost-efficient and effective. Reducing the speed limit will not fix the issue, he said.
“When you look at speed limit reductions, if the issue is speeding and we’ve reduced the speed limit to 30 and then people still do 60 at Chartwell, then what do we do?” said Filmer. “What we’ve heard, we don’t have the numbers for police enforcement. We can’t have a police officer sitting in Chartwell everyday. If people aren’t paying attention to the speed limit now, what makes us think they’re going to listen to it six months down the road? People speed, they’re going to speed. So we should look at other options other than just dumping it down to 30. You look at school zones. It’s 30 there but people still go over 30 in school zones.”
Council voted 4-1 to get staff to generate a report on a pilot project to reduce residential speed limits and present it to the town’s special committee on public safety. Filmer voted in opposition.