Brailsford Place residents were back at Sooke council last week to express their frustration with a situation that’s dragged on for almost a decade – without resolution.
The issue? Whether Brailsford Place should be left as a quiet cul-de-sac where neighbourhood children can safely play, or be opened up to through traffic from the View Pointe Estates housing development to create a transportation route.
The question has left Coun. Al Beddows frustrated.
“This is another one of those things that should have been handled five or six years ago. Instead, we’ve had stopgap measures that satisfied half the people and angered the other half. We (council) have to stop doing that,” Beddows said.
The issue first surfaced in 2012 when residents, armed with a 100-signature petition, appeared before council to protest a plan to open up the end of Brailsford Place for a through road for a proposed subdivision.
At the time, council was split on the question with some councillors claiming Brailsford was “always planned to go through.”
The split on council resulted in a halfway measure where the road was pushed through, but bollards were installed to prevent through traffic.
The move allowed a more direct route for emergency vehicles responding to calls from the new housing development.
Jumping ahead to July 2018, council responded to a resurrection of the issue by passing a resolution to retain the bollards on Brailsford Place.
By September, however, council was revisiting that direction and asked staff to provide more information.
Now, there’s yet another push by the View Pointe Estates residents to remove the bollards and allow for through traffic.
Mayor Maja Tait shared Beddows’ frustration and said she understood “this was never supposed to be a though road,” and felt a strip of greenspace should have been established to separate the two neighbourhoods.
“Instead of leaving that greenspace, they (the municipality) just went ahead and built straight through,” Tait said.
“We have this problem because what has developed in not what was supposed to happen. There’s a disconnect between what council is approving and what is happening.”
And while several Brailsford residents appeared at council to voice their displeasure at the idea that their road would be connected to the adjoining subdivision, the emergency services delays seemed to sway some councillors in the direction of removing the bollards and opening up the roadway.
“We have the issue of public safety. The fire chief has told us that having to stop and unlock and remove the bollards can add one or two minutes to the response time [for a call in View Pointe Estates],” Coun. Tony St. Pierre said.
“While I can appreciate the concerns of the Brailsford Place residents about traffic on their street, I know two minutes in an emergency can make a dramatic difference.”
In the end, the issue once again remained unresolved, with council again deferring any decision.
This time they’re its planning to wait for the upcoming transportation master plan to address the question.
“If we do end up removing the bollards and allowing through access, I’ll be pushing for traffic calming measures (like speed bumps) to help address the concerns of the Brailsford residents. But I know that, whatever the decision, half the people are going to be unhappy,” Beddows said.
“All we’ve done is kick it down the road again. We’ll have to deal with this eventually.”