No need to worry about ‘plans’ for Arden Road

Dear editor,

In response to Shirley Coulson and her concern over the City of Courtenay’s future plans for Arden Road, let me suggest that she has absolutely nothing to worry about.

This is simply what the City does: It plans. In response to any problem it hires consultants and spends vast sums of money to produce documents that are never acted upon.

Some 15 years ago, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a traffic study to identify where a third bridge across the river should be built. After looking at all options the best planning minds we could find told us the new bridge should be located at the bottom of 11th Street.

This choice was probably arrived at because 11th street runs from the river, like a gunshot, to intersect Cumberland Road where a roundabout could be built, spreading the ever-increasing traffic load downtown over more streets. It makes sense, 11th Street is already super-wide and has sidewalks on both sides.

So sure were our politicians of this choice that they purchased the land on the other side of the river where the bridge would land. What happened after all these efforts and money spent? Nothing. A few years later different politicians were lobbied by a landowner and they decided that a bridge would not be built at that location after all.. ever! I don’t know what happened to the land we bought on the far side of the river. If history is any guide, we probably sold it at a loss.

Years ago a considerable sum of money was spent to plan a rebuild of Willemar Avenue. Increased traffic from all the developments in the Arden Road area (coincidentally), failing watermains and the sub-standard nature of the original subgrade the road was built over were the reasons given for this rebuild. Plans were drawn up, open houses held, pretty pictures created. Then nothing.

Every year the City collects Development Cost Charges from new developments in the Arden Road area but nothing is done to mitigate the problems created off-site by these developments. Willemar and 26th street have turned into virtual drag strips over the last few years. This area desperately needs traffic calming strategies implemented. But it won’t happen. First, the City would have to hire consultants to produce a report with pretty pictures, hold open houses… only after all that could the City decide to do nothing about the actual problem.

Relax Shirley, you’ll probably be long gone before the City ever acts on any of these Arden Road plans.

Francois Lepine


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