A backgrounder attached to Oak Bay’s council agenda caused a brief surge of concern among residents thinking that council was considering increasing the speed limit on a stretch of Henderson Road after reducing it in 2016.
In fact, the opposite might happen.
One sharp-eyed resident took to Twitter after noticing a reference in the April 12 council agenda to a 50 km/h speed limit on a road that had been reduced, amid much public consultation, to 40 km/h in 2016.
Her Tweet quickly had a dozen comments, including one person recalling helping officers deal with a dog who had been killed by a vehicle, and others expressing shock and dismay that an increase would be considered in an area with so many kids, cyclists and elderly pedestrians.
Unlike other municipalities, on April 12, @DistrictOakBay will consider staff report to *increase* speed limit on north Henderson Rd from current 40 k/h to 50k/h. Locals fought for yrs to have limit lowered to 40. Now a retrograde step is under consideration.
— Lesley Ewing (@EwingLesley) April 8, 2021
Alas, it was a misunderstanding. Council will consider a request from Saanich council to reduce the proposed 40 km/h speed limit to 30 km/h on all residential streets without a yellow line. For more than two years the municipalities have been working on a joint proposal to implement a 40 km/h standard speed limit on residential roads, but Saanich residents asked if 30 km/h doesn’t make more sense.
On March 22, Saanich council unanimously voted to amend the pilot project to 30 km/h, and submitted a letter to Oak Bay council asking they consider doing the same.
An old 2016 report from Oak Bay staff was included in the agenda package ahead of Oak Bay’s April 12 council meeting as context for councillors, but it was not clearly labelled as such, leading to the confusion.
1/2 Hi Lesley,
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The 2016 staff report you are referring to is forming part of the agenda for background information only and the recommendations contained within that report is not before Council for consideration.
— District of Oak Bay (@DistrictOakBay) April 8, 2021
Oak Bay staff jumped into the Twitter melee correcting the misunderstanding, and released an updated agenda package with the background information clearly marked.
Central Saanich, Esquimalt, North Saanich and Sidney were also part of the pilot and have been likewise asked to support the a reduction to 30 km/h. Victoria has already approved the change. West Shore neighbourhoods and Sooke previously declined to join the 40 km/h pilot, and have been re-invited in case 30 km/h is more doable.