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Speedwatch seeks new leader

Keith Smith hangs up his speederboard
Keith Smith is retiring from Speedwatch

After a dozen years of reminding drivers to ease up on the gas, Keith Smith is easing up himself and stepping down as the co-ordinator of District 69 Speedwatch.

“I started doing this 12 years ago and enough is enough,” Smith said from his Qualicum Beach home. “In 2011, as far as family is concerned, I’m looking at a year when I really don’t have a lot of free time. Also, I’ll be 80 in October.”

Smith, a driving force behind the group for much of his time at the helm, was modest.

“I’ve been in enough organizations to know that no matter how good a job you think you are doing, someone else can do just as good a job and bring in some new ideas,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting a new, keen person to go out there and take it over.”

That may be, but that’s not how the municipality sees it, and they made that clear at the April 4 regular meeting.

“I want to thank Keith Smith as a very dedicated volunteer on Speedwatch, said Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek. “I want a motion to send an official letter of appreciation for his 12 years of service.”

Westbroek told how he drove by Smith’s home on March 31, the last day of his tenure and saw Smith outside, training a Speedwatch volunteer.

“He was there, working, right to the last day,” Westbroek said. “I want you all to know what an asset Keith was. This guy is good to the last drop.” 

To date, Smith said there has been a dearth of volunteers stepping forward to take over the helm at Speedwatch, a situation he said is mirrored in the general membership.

“Our volunteers are getting long in the tooth and a few others have dropped off, so we are really thin on the ground for volunteers,” he said. “Parksville remains as the part of District 69 Speedwatch that really needs a few more volunteers.”

Despite stepping down, Smith still has some ideas he would like to see set in motion to keep the Speedwatch group active and growing. In particular, Smith proposed a system of appointing captains in the various areas, an initiative he believes will bear fruit.

Under the system, captains would be appointed in Nanoose bay, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Bowser and they would be responsible for setting up two-person teams to staff radar speed reader boards in their area and working with the RCMP contact.

“This idea of captains, I really think will work, but it has to have somebody to make it work,” he said.

Anyone who would like to volunteer for Speedwatch can call 250-752-8135.