Who will take responsibility to establish emergency roads to the Whalebone and Phase Four districts of Gabriola, Fire Chief Rick Jackson asked at a June 18 meeting at Agi Hall.
Jackson said at a Gabriola Transportation Association (GTA) public meeting with officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and EMCON – the company that maintains the roads on Gabriola – that the fire department has been concerned about those subdivisions for a number of years.
He said the community has pushed the issue in a couple of instances with good results. For example, he said, Coats Road was originally to be subdivided and “was allowed to have a cul de sac in it. The trustees made a big stink with Victoria, and the next thing you know somebody kicked in the money – it wasn’t the developer – and built that section of the road”.
Regarding the Whalebone district, Jackson said, recently an agreement in principle between a number of governmental bodies has been reached to allow a road to go through what used to be Weldwood lands, but nobody was willing to build the road. The Regional District of Nanaimo has looked into the issue, Jackson said, “but couldn’t get anywhere, so now it’s been thrown back to us”.
“It’s a pretty big subdivision down there”, Jackson said, “it’s critical to have a secondary access – emergency at least – out of there. And the road going in is suspect. If there was ever any kind of load it’s widely believed that Whalebone Hill will just give up”.
A road from Church Street to Spruce Avenue, Jackson said, “is another one on our agenda”. He said “at this point” whether it goes ahead rested on an agreement with property owner Robert Rooks.
“He’s willing to build that road through”, Jackson said, “but there’s no mechanism to allow him another lot or anything like that”. He explained that the land is already subdivided below its allowable minimum lot size. He thought expropriation would be one method to establish the road, but “who’s going to pay?”
Jackson asked: “What’s the next step. How do you get put into somebody’s agenda”?
Johnathan Tillie, operations manager of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) said he would “get back to” Jackson.
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