Focus on providing basic services

City hall

I recently read the letter to your paper from D. McGillis, which you entitled “Good Point: Highway”.

In his letter Mr. McGillis lauded those who had improved Highway 19  (the Island Highway). While I understand that he was trying to look at the positive aspect of the recent project, I think the letter  would have been better entitled “Missed the Point.”

I, like most others, want Campbell River to look beautiful, and  pleasant roadways through the city are part of making  this a good place to live. But surely when  a major north/south roadway is upgraded, the first matter of concern is public safety, which requires that the road be designed to easily allow emergency vehicles to travel on it. For instance, did this stretch of roadway really need sidewalks on both sides? As well, wouldn’t some thought to adequate public parking have been a good idea and  a budget that could provide for its maintenance? The issue for me is not beauty, but rather thoughtfulness in the planning.

Which takes me to the recent letter from Dan Samson He suggested that the Island Highway be renamed Marine Drive. His letter might have been entitled Poor Timing. He has some odd notion that the speed on this road must be “moderate to slow” and that it is for pedestrians, not vehicles.  Again, no one denies that the waterfront is an important part of our city’s character and perhaps someday this roadway might be a place primarily for people instead of traffic flow. But the fact  is that presently this is a major roadway,  moving people from south to north in our city. Where is the commuter traffic that uses this road to go? Alder? Certainly not Dogwood it seems. What scares me is that this might be council’s intent.

Which brings me to my last point. The last thing that will make our city attractive at this time is a name change to the Island Highway. Or a webcam. We need a council that focuses on providing basic services and needs, and not on incidentals. This is apparently a city  which at this point in its life can’t  afford to have its park lawns cut regularly. There are weeds and wild grass left growing along most  city boulevards. The traffic flow through this city is a mess due to the disastrous changes to the  Dogwood lights.

Whereas  Mr. Samson would like to make the Island Highway an idyllic drive, I want traffic flow throughout the city which minimizes the noise of speeding cars, noisy trucks, and now motorcycles which presently roar up and down Alder and along the side streets which  connect Alder and Dogwood. And  as well,  I would appreciate  some traffic enforcement by our police.

Further, our city council should be spending its money and time to build up a vital downtown area, to  encourage small businesses downtown which will interest potential and present citizens and pay reasonable municipal taxes. A proliferation of big box stores does not set us apart from other communities.

Finally, there needs to be a system of accountability by council and  by city staff. I’m tired of costly mistakes and the lack of courage to address real issues. For me, strong services and good management are the keys to making this an attractive city to visit and live in.

Once we have these, we can consider name changes and web cams.

Howard Milner

Campbell River