Saanich council has agreed to consider a $2 million investment into road safety.
Council reviewed a report submitted by Couns. Rebecca Mersereau, Ned Taylor and Zac de Vries at its Jan. 28 meeting, asking that an investment for road safety improvements to be included in the draft 2020 budget.
Last night #Saanich Council supported the proposal from myself, @RJMersereau and @zac4saanich for an additional $2 million into active transportation infrastructure!— Ned Taylor (@CouncllrNTaylor) January 30, 2020
A step in the right direction to make our roads safer & more accessible for all. pic.twitter.com/ZbTgt7sDdn
In the report, the councillors acknowledge that there are several factors that contribute to Saanich residents’ road safety concerns including road speeds, parking and inadequate infrastructure for vulnerable road users. They noted the financial implications of expediting the Active Transportation Plan are a barrier but are within council’s control.
Coun. Judy Brownoff supported the motion but noted in-depth discussion will need to take place at the budget review because several “surprises” have come up while creating the draft budget. She highlighted the recent flood at the Cedar Hill Golf Course clubhouse which led to it being closed for repairs and losing revenue.
Despite some councillors voicing concerns, the motion passed unanimously, Taylor said.
He acknowledged $2 million is a large sum, but noted investing in “critical road infrastructure” is expensive.
Staff had originally recommended spending $1 million on expediting the Active Transportation Plan’s 30-year timeline, but Taylor, de Vries and Mersereau felt that $2 million was more appropriate.
While the investment hasn’t been approved, Taylor sees council agreeing to consider it in the draft budget as a good sign.
Construction costs are going up, so this is the time to invest in road safety, Taylor explained.
“I don’t want to wait 30 years for gaps in our network to be filled,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll stay committed through deliberations.”
Budget deliberations will begin in March and end in April.