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  • Gayle Baker

Exploring Pathways, Painting, and Potholes with CRD's Gary Holman

November 29:

Eight guests came to ask questions of Gary Holman at this eight session of ASK Salt Spring. Unlike last week when the theme of the day seemed to be roads, this week, the conversation ranged widely from roads and safety to a January solution for the homeless, the proposed laundromat and possible renovations of the Visitors’ Centre.

The discussion began again with too much fast-moving traffic on Leisure Lane. While signage still seems to be a reasonable, easier, initial option, lowering speed limits (and posting them as they are not currently posted) and possibly even speed bumps were discussed. At the conclusion of this conversation, I promised to get the contact information for the MoTI individual responsible for our roads to our guest. He promised to canvas neighbors to get their support for lowered speed limits and other traffic calming methods. He will present his concerns at the January 30 Transportation Commission meeting to bring Commissioners into the loop on his concerns and proposed solutions.

Road painting was again mentioned with the off-repeated comment of “How hard can it be to at least keep current safety lines maintained?” Is is the ban on oil paint that has made it so difficult to keep our roads adequately marked with lines and crosswalks?

Cats’ Eyes were again mentioned as well. I will follow-up with Darryl to see if 3M has any state-of-the-art products to enhance road safety.

The North Ganges Transportation lope was discussed, with most in the room insisting that they would not cross the street for the path, preferring, instead, to walk on the waterside, despite the row of “For Sale” vehicles there. Although it is too late to consider modifying plans and drawings for this project, some amenities on the waterside to make walking safer could also be considered. These could include concrete barriers to define the area (and stop for sale cars from being parked there) plus the possibility of benches and plantings to make it a more pleasant waterfront area. This option will be kept in mind as the loop is being built.

One easier question: what about all the potholes in the Mouat Park parking lot? At last - an easier-to-solve problem: PARC owns this lot. As they are currently creating pathways, it makes sense to ask them to put some gravel in the potholes at the same time. (Unfortunately. . . I do not remember who was following up on this. . . )

Switching to homeless issues, one guest asked about acquiring a tiny bit of land at the back of the Rainbow Pool property for the family of men needing tiny homes. Another guest said that great efforts had been put into acquiring this land for that purpose a few years ago to no avail due to specific usage agreements for the land.

With January, the coldest month, questions was asked about finding a warm spot a few hours a week for tutoring and support for our homeless population. A number of free locations were suggested. It was also suggested that, with some more funding, Community Services might be able to open the shelter for a few more hours during the daytime hours during our coldest month. Options will be pursued, and ASK Salt Spring will be kept in the loop on progress.

The conversation switched to the proposed laundromat and its grant application to the Salt Spring Island Foundation for its Shaw Funds, due tomorrow, Saturday, November 30. With the business plan nearly complete, it looks like costs to run it will be approximately $150,000 a year with expected revenues in excess of this. The budget analysis looks promising as long as the Wagon Wheel Society does not begin its business venture owing the approximately $140,000 for capital and renovation expenditures. Given some generous donations for the renovation costs, if the Shaw Funds were to pay for equipment and furniture, prospects would be bright.

The CREST communication system was briefly discussed. Without a tower to serve Ganges, this system is at risk of not being fully-utilized. (RCMP are not currently using it.) There is some land near the Recycle Centre that could be used, but the province would have to agree as it is currently only designated to be used for recycling.

The possible use of gas tax funding to help pay for a needed-renovation of the Visitors’ Centre was discussed. Although there are many steps to be taken before this is an option, the possibility of seeking other funding, with gas tax as a partner, was discussed. Also discussed was the bus shelter and implications for the Visitors’ Centre were it enlarged or even moved to the other side of the dangerous stairs leading to the parking lot. Some more attractive plantings in the area were discussed as well.

Additionally, the need for garbage and recycling was mentioned, an identified gap in our village. While this discussion was only in its preliminary stage, some interesting options were explored.

One guest had just returned from two months away and needed information about the Safety Counter-Initiative. In the short time that he had been back, he had heard quite a bit of negative talk about it, and he wanted to get some facts. While not entirely pleased by all the answers that he got, he tore up his petition on the spot, willing to support the plan and see how it evolved.

While no guests came until almost 11:00, the last of the guests left after 2:00 leading me to question the current hours of ASK Salt Spring - 10-1.

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