Traffic noise, speeding, road closures rev up concerns on West Coast Road

Ratepayers association hosts meeting to tackle issue

The Otter Point Shirley Jordan River Residents and Ratepayers Association has had enough of speeding drivers and unsafe roadways.

In response to an increase in complaints regarding excessive noise, unsafe speeds, and the danger to pedestrians, cyclists and even other motorists, the group is hoping to raise awareness and generate discussion with a view to finding solutions to what group president Bill Dushenko said is an increasingly untenable situation.

“You could say that we’ve reached a tipping point in our community where something needs to be done. There’s an ever-increasing level of frustration and area residents are fed up with the inaction in response to their complaints,” Dushenko said.

The problem, said group member Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman, is that the roadways have not kept up with the increased traffic flows stemming from an increase in the district’s population as well as increased tourism traffic, all sharing the road with large trucks and others.

“We have trucks – big lumber trucks – trying to get where they need to go very quickly without having enough road to do what they’re trying to do. We’ve had numerous reports of near misses and drivers having to swerve off the road to keep from getting killed,” she said.

Another issue for the neighbourhood, said Dushenko, is rooted in the safety issue in case of a medical emergency.

“If we have an accident on the road, it effectively blocks off the neighbourhood. First responders can’t get in and, if you’re unlucky enough to have a medical emergency at those times, it may be a matter of life and death.”

Noise is another factor.

The winding road through scenic countryside is a strong attraction for motorcyclists who love the contours of the road.

“We have a lot of bikers who come roaring through here on their big bikes and the noise can be really incredible. Add to that the fact that the truckers tend to disrespect the fact that they are in a residential area and insist on using their engine brakes on tight corners. It is disrupting our community in a way that I’m sure they don’t appreciate,” said Dushenko.

OPSRRA has planned a meeting to discuss safety along Otter Point and West Coast roads for Nov. 5 between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. at the Juan de Fuca Local Area Services Building at 7450 Butler Rd.

Panelists at the meeting will include members of the RCMP, B.C. Commercial Vehicle and Enforcement, Ministry of Transportation and business leaders.

After a brief presentation, the floor will be open to residents who wish to ask questions or express their own concerns or tell their own stories regarding the roads.

“We know these are issues shared by other communities in B.C. where the road development just hasn’t kept pace with population growth and the demands of traffic. But we’re standing up for our neighbourhood and saying that something needs to be done and done now,” Dushenko said.

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