Curby Klaibert, spokesperson for Saanich and Oak Bay Community Safety Network, addresses a meeting of area politicians and residents Sunday afternoon in explaining traffic concerns at the intersection of Beach Drive and Cadboro Bay Road. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Group confronts election hopefuls from Saanich and Oak Bay with traffic issues

Saanich and Oak Bay Community Safety Network wants Beach Drive and Cadboro Bay Road improved.

Residents of a Cadboro Bay neighbourhood concerned about traffic safety heard Sunday that Saanich is working on some of the issues. But they also heard that their concerns are competing with other concerns and some time may pass before things may actually happen on the ground.

Curby Klaibert, spokesperson for Saanich and Oak Bay Community Safety Network, said Monday he is confident that the area near the border between Saanich and Oak Bay will see improvements after the group gave local area politicians from Saanich and Oak Bay a tour.

Close to 50 people including several current and would-be-councillors in Saanich and Oak Bay gathered Sunday afternoon near the intersection of Beach Drive and Cadboro Bay Road, where Cadboro Bay Road meets Hibbons Close, a small but essential residential road.

Saanich and Oak Bay Community Safety Network organized the meeting, for which it invited political representatives from Saanich and Oak Bay, as well as B.C. Transit. Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell, his challenger for the mayoral officer, Coun. Fred Haynes, as well as Couns. Karen Harper and Colin Plant attended from the Saanich side of the border, Coun. Kevin Murdoch, who is challenging incumbent Oak Bay Mayor Mayor Nils Jensen, and Coun. Eric Wood Zhelka, attended from the Oak Bay side. Jensen had met with the group earlier. A handful of non-incumbent candidates also attended the gathering. No representative from B.C. Transit appeared.

During the gathering, Klaibert stressed the group’s three priority, starting with a crosswalk that would allow residents to safely cross the intersection of Beach Drive and Cadboro Bay Road. As if to confirm the point, several pedestrians (including runners) had to wait on the eastern side of Cadboro Bay Road before being able to cross.

Area residents would like to see improvements along the eastern side of Cadboro Road that would allow residents to safely access a bus stop further down the road among other destination points. Residents currently have to walk on the road if they wish to reach the bus stop because of various encroachments stemming from three homes.

Finally, the group is calling for traffic calming measures that could potentially include a traffic circle.

During the gathering, Atwell read out a memo from staff which said staff are working with the owners of three homes in a “systematic manner with the goal of improving pedestrian access.” Some of the impediments include retaining walls, utility poles and trees.

Saanich staff have also been in touch with their counterparts of Oak Bay.

But residents also heard that their demands will be competing with other demands and that it would be up to them to make their voices heard following the election.

They also heard that Cadboro Road appears as a medium priority (5-10 years) for pedestrian improvements.

Murdoch described Sunday’s meeting as “very informative,” but suggested lowered expectations. Any improvements to the area would require considerable technical review before any political decisions. Bad outcomes tend to appear whenever politicians make decisions instead of engineers, he said.


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