Campbell River’s been growing.
So in order to keep people moving smoothly throughout the community, city council has decided to undertake a review of its Master Transportation Plan next year. The issue arose at last week’s financial planning deliberations, with the majority of council agreeing now is the time to take a long, hard look at the plan and make necessary revisions.
The $65,000 plan update was scheduled to begin in 2021, but Coun. Colleen Evans wanted it brought “above the line” – meaning it would be officially funded in the budget – as well as moving the project up two years to begin in 2019.
Mayor Andy Adams asked staff whether that was a realistic expectation, what with the rest of the projects that had already been funded to occur next year. Council had already decided that staff would undertake a review of the Dogwood corridor next year, along with many other new and continuing major projects.
“It could be a bit challenging,” admitted director of operations Drew Hadfield. “It will involve quite a bit of public outreach, so it does take up a fair amount of staff time. The following year might be more suitable for that.”
“I guess my concern is that the master plan will be informed by a number of these other plans that are moving forward, so I think they need to be done in parallel,” Evans said. “To complete one without looking at the master plan doesn’t make as much sense as doing it collectively.”
But after hearing Hadfield’s answer about the feasibility, Evans suggested that it could begin in late 2019 and continue into 2020.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield agreed.
“When I look at the traffic situation that we’re having right now,” Cornfield said, “and as our community grows, we’ve got to make sure that we’re moving traffic through our community efficiently and effectively. That’s our Master Transportation Plan, which was done in 2012, which was prior to our growth spurt that we’re currently undergoing. And if we’re looking at the Dogwood corridor plan and the Willis Road plan and a number of other concerns – plus the highway improvements that we’ll be doing – I think it’s important that we start the Master Plan process. It won’t be something we should expect to be done in a year.”
Councilors Moglove, Babchuk and Adams voted against the motion, so it passed by a 4-3 vote.
But Moglove asked for a reconsideration of the idea later in the planning session.
“What I remembered was that we’re undertaking a review of our urban containment boundaries,” Moglove said. “So I’m wondering whether it makes sense to start the Master Transportation Plan update before that review is done. Is there an opportunity to reconsider this?”
Evans again spoke about “the importance of keeping parallel processes going so that one can inform the others.”
“They’re both inextricably entwined with each other,” Cornfield agreed. “If you have growth, you need roads and if you have roads, you’re going to end up with growth, so I think these things have to occur in parallel to keep them aligned.”
In the end, it was decided to leave the funding in the budget for 2019 so that the process could begin if should staff have the time available to take it on, likely in the last quarter of the year and carrying on into 2020.