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Delete the recommendation to reopen the ERT Road to vehicular traffic: Letter


Filed for publication with the Mirror

Mayor and Council, City of Campbell River,

Re: Reopening of the Elk River Timber Road

It is my understanding that the latest version of the city’s Master Transportation Plan is recommending that consideration be given to reopening the ERT Road to vehicular traffic.

I am writing to express concern regarding this recommendation and the potential loss of the linear greenbelt which is a unique feature that sets Campbell River far ahead of many other B.C. communities. The Greenways Bicycle Loop – which runs through the greenbelt on a multi-use path – has been recognized by both residents and tourists alike as being a true recreational asset for Campbell River. It allows users to easily loop through a good portion of the community under their own power in a safe and enjoyable setting without going up or down any steep hills. The greenbelt is also used by walkers, joggers, cross country skiers and all sorts of people who just want to get out and enjoy nature close to home. Introducing vehicular traffic back into the corridor would totally destroy the greenbelt’s ambiance and have little impact on solving existing north/south traffic problems in the city.

The ERT Road was closed to vehicular traffic in the early 2000s because it had deteriorated to a point where it couldn’t operate safely as a roadway. It was determined that total reconstruction, estimated to be in the millions was required to bring it up to city standards. Council of the day recognized the value of a linear greenbelt at this location and determined that the upgrading of a secondary road that could never be anything greater than a collector road due to limitations at both ends was not justified. Continuation of the ERT Road south of the Pinecrest Road right of way is not possible due to the existence of Beaver Lodge Lands and the north end terminates at a dangerous location on an inside curve within a block’s distance from Peterson Road, an existing north/south arterial road. Peterson Road already adequately serves this area of Campbellton.

Although a limited amount of traffic would use a reconstructed ERT Road, it was believed that it would have little impact on north Dogwood Street traffic volumes. The final destinations for most of the people using north Dogwood Street are the schools and businesses strung along Dogwood Street or the commercial areas at the north end of the street. The ERT Road does not serve any of these destinations, therefore, it would not be the first choice for traveling north. Southbound traffic on the ERT Road would need to jog back over to Dogwood Street to continue south, hence there would be little benefit in taking the ERT Road if the required improvements on Dogwood Street are made to improve traffic flows. A more functional recommendation in the Master Transportation Plan would be to spend the money where it would best be utilized. Sooner than later, north Dogwood Street will have to be upgraded. Instead of spending millions on an unneeded secondary road, Council should be concentrating on doing what is necessary on Dogwood Street to improve its traffic flows.

I trust that serious consideration will be given to the above comments and that the recommendation in the Master Transportation Plan to reopen the ERT Road to vehicular traffic will be deleted.

Philip Skognes