Speed light sparks conversation on Qualicum Beach transportation plan

Qualicum Beach town staff will look at data to support a permanent car-activated light on Highway 19A where the speed limit reduces to 50 km/h || File photo
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Qualicum Beach town staff will look at data to support a permanent car-activated light on Highway 19A where the speed limit reduces to 50 km/h.

A motion for the staff report from Coun. Teunis Westbroek at council’s July 21 regular meeting sparked a conversation about the need for a transportation master plan update.

 “We hear a lot about speeding. Almost everywhere in town people have raised concerns, but before we have a knee jerk reaction we need to get facts and data so I think this will help us make better decisions,” Westbroek said.

Coun. Scott Harrison voted against the motion and said he is more concerned about other intersections in town.

“We have intersections where we have had serious injuries and we have an intersection for example in town where someone died recently,” Harrison said. “I would strongly suggest that we should be looking at this holistically, not as a series of one-off reports and trying to tackle the larger problem of where do we allocate a finite amount of resources in a finite amount of time.”

He added he believes the motion was a response to recent emails, “the intersections with the most injuries, we don’t get emails about,” he said. 

Westbroek disagreed and said where the highway reduces from 70–50km/h has been a serious concern for a long time. “You don’t always have to have an accident to feel uncomfortable,” he said. “I think to have something like this in place will help draw attention to people to not to speed. I think we see a lot of it — we can’t fix everywhere, but we are trying. This is a main stretch of our road that we want to make sure people feel safe.”

Coun. Anne Skipsey supported Westbroek’s motion and said she got her only speeding ticket at this location.

Harrison said he  would like to look at updating the transportation master plan at the end of the year or early next year, “to make sure we are prioritizing the money that we have for addressing these issues in a way which actually prioritizes public safety and the greater good of the community, as opposed to responding to some of the last emails we received.”

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