LETTERS – parents want safe crosswalks, not bike path blame

In an excerpt from a letter addressed to Qualicum Beach Mayor and Council dated June 2, 2020, Lorna Gray and Anna Sjoo write:

It has been brought to our attention that on numerous occasions over the past several months, one member of Council (or their family) and town staff have stated or implied that it was us parents from Qualicum Beach Elementary School (QBES) that requested the new bike path and are therefore somehow responsible for the environmental disaster and clear cutting alongside Hoylake Rd W. This letter is being sent to set the record straight and to request that we are not used as the Town’s excuse in future.

We would like to clarify that as far as we are aware the Hoylake Road School Connector route was not requested by the parents of QBES or by the school district. This may have been a discussion when the route was devised back in 2012, however, this cannot be applied to recent parent concerns. Our simple request was for two crosswalks (see Diagram #1): one across Hoylake Road W (which was installed, and we were very grateful for – see photo below) and one across Arbutus Street. It is our observation that very few families with school aged children live within walking or biking distance to QBES and this small number of students would never justify all the destruction that has taken place here.

The complete letter, along with photos and attachments, can be read here:

The letter writers conclude by saying:

To reiterate our areas of concern:

1. The School Connector Bike Path was not requested by the parents of QBES and we WILL NOT be used as the Town’s excuse for the destruction that has taken place on Hoylake Rd W.

2. The ongoing need for a safe crosswalk on Arbutus St. This area is more confusing than ever and is unsafe. Pedestrians and cyclists need a clearly defined crosswalk from one side of the road to the other. There has been resistance to this in the past because of the railway line, however, the need for appropriate signage across this road must have been discussed with the Koers Engineer before this bike connector route project began. Harlech Rd and the original trail end at Arbutus St – these two routes have no visible guidance of where they are supposed to go next (See Diagram #1). It is NOT SAFE, especially for seniors or young children since many drivers know there is a non- functioning train crossing and tend to continue through the stop signs and exceed the speed limit. In our initial discussions with RCMP, the police officer said that he would not have his children walking to school due to the lack of safety crossings.

3. The need for safe crosswalks now across Mill Rd/Beach Rd, Harlech Rd/First Ave and Harlech Rd/Memorial Ave (See Diagram #2). Three of our children were 9 years old when we initially requested safe crosswalks. Our children are now 13 and will start Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) in September. When cyclists come to the end of the bike route at Mill Rd they do not know where to go next. Does this bike route continue along Harlech Road and behind the old Fire Hall then across First Ave? (Diagram #2) We are still trying to decide. This entire stretch of walkway/bike route/road from Mill Rd/Beach Rd to Naked Naturals parking lot is unclear and currently unsafe for cyclists and walkers alike.