City council has decided to reduce speed limits around Foster Park to 30 km/h after Parksville residents made a plea for safety two weeks ago.
Portions of Pym Street and Sanderson Road near the park will get the new speed designation next week after a spirited debate Monday in city council chambers.
Residents of the area came to council on Oct. 5 asking for the city to reduce speeds near the park. Council directed staff to come back with a report and recommendations as quickly as possible, which director of engineering Vaughn Figueira did Monday night.
Figueira gave council traffic data and suggested a reduction to 30 km/h on Sanderson but not on Pym, where he wanted the city to erect a fence hugging the park’s edge. Figueira noted Pym is a main collector road for the area.
“It’s all well and good to do that (reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h), but there is evidence that it’s not necessarily going to slow people down,” he said.
Coun. Mary Beil made a motion to go with Figueira’s suggestions, but those ideas were challenged by a couple of councillors.
“My concern is children crossing Pym Street,” said Coun. Kirk Oates. “I see no reason why the speed limit can’t be dropped there.”
Coun. Al Greir didn’t like the fence idea.
“I’m certainly not in favour of putting fences all over town where we have parks,” he said.
Figueira presented data from two weeks of traffic around the park, 2,400 vehicles. On Pym, the mean speed was 47 km/hour but there was one instance of a driver going 110 km/h.
“I’m not seeing how a fence would save a child if someone is doing 110 km/h,” said Coun. Leanne Salter.
Mayor Marc Lefebvre warned against making rash decisions after hearing passionate pleas from a delegation.
“We don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction any time someone says traffic is going too fast,” said the mayor.
Oates got an amendment to Beil’s motion passed, essentially calling for the 30 km/h speed limit on both Pym and Sanderson and scrapping the fence idea.
That new motion passed, with only Beil opposed.
• City council also received a presentation Monday night about rainwater harvesting and storage from Julie Pisani, drinking water and watershed protection program co-ordinator for the Regional District of Nanaimo.
“The rain is free and storing it makes you resistant to drought,” said Pisani.
She showed council collection and storage options for individual homeowners. A 55-gallon (208 litres) rain barrel system costs $80-$120 and holds enough water to sprinkle a 200 square foot garden, she said.
A cistern system of 1,000 gallons can cost more than $1,200 but the RDN has a rebate program that could see a homeowner get $750 back for systems of 1,000 gallons or more, said Pisani.
For more information about rainwater harvesting and storage, visit the RDN’s website: www.rdn.bc.ca.
• The mayor officially announced that CAO Fred Manson will be retiring at the end of the year.
For a story and editorial about this development, see The Tuesday, Oct. 20 edition of the news or go to