According to UBCM, the probability of survival if a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle travelling at 30 km/h is about 90 per cent, but only 20 per cent at 50 km/h. (Black Press File Photo)

According to UBCM, the probability of survival if a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle travelling at 30 km/h is about 90 per cent, but only 20 per cent at 50 km/h. (Black Press File Photo)

Saanich mayor tasks province with lowering speeds to avoid patchwork of municipal bylaws

Mayor Fred Haynes said it’s also a financial, administrative burden for municipalities

Municipalities across the province have grappled with the issue of reducing residential speed limits for at least two decades, according to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). The provincial government currently sets a speed limit of 50 km/h within city limits unless otherwise posted, but many municipalities think it should be lower. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is calling on the provincial government to enact province-wide changes to speed limits by updating the provincial Motor Vehicles Act.

This situation is complicated by the relationship between provincial and municipal governments. While municipal governments have the power to enact municipal bylaws to change local speed limits, there are reasons both municipal and provincial governments don’t really want this to happen.

READ MORE: Saanich mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

As Haynes said in a letter he wrote to premier John Horgan on Nov. 18, the “reality” of enacting these bylaws presents an administrative and financial burden to municipalities, as well as lacking the kind of consistency and effectiveness needed to make B.C. roads safer for residents. Municipalities would have to change speed limits for every single road one at a time, and are also charged with posting proper signange for those roads.

During the UBCM conference in September, one of the things agreed on was to ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to consider amending the Motor Vehicles Act to allow incorporated municipalities (such as Saanich) to institute blanket speed zones in residential areas. This would remove the need to change speed limits one road at a time.

But Haynes was “disappointed” to receive the response from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which he said “does not address our needs or the expressed at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.” The response cited the potential challenges of patchwork speed limits and speed enforcement as reasons for declining to make the amendment.

Varying speed limits across neighboring municipalities can cause enforcement issues, as the ministry said, due to challenges to speeding tickets on the basis that motorists can’t reasonably know the applicable speed limits set by bylaws and posted only at entrances to those defined areas.

Haynes’ Nov. 18 letter represents a shift in tactics for Saanich. He is now asking the provincial government to lower blanket residential speed limits to avoid the patchwork quilt that would result if municipalities were to go the bylaw route for lowering speeds, and he plans to get other mayors on board.

READ ALSO: Saanich calls for safety audit after motorcyclist killed on Prospect Lake Road

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow @yrlocaljourno

SaanichTraffic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police seek suspect after woman nearly robbed while getting out of vehicle

Incident occurred before 7 a.m. Feb. 17 in parking lot off Cordova Bay Road

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read