Invasive LED street lighting
After his presentation to Council on April 7, 2021 regarding installation of LED street lighting, Town engineer Bob Weir was told to do more homework, specifically instructed to “report back to Council with a more articulated, systemic complaint process for evaluation of LED street lights, that includes neighborhood consultation, for Council to review.” As we previously reported, opposition to QB street lighting grows. Meanwhile citizens continue to try to get some meaningful response from Town Hall, as can be seen in the numerous submissions noted in the Council Correspondence Log (see April 28, 2021 Regular Council Meeting Agenda). Prior to the April 7, 2021 meeting, the following letter from one QB resident to Council, cc Luke Sales and Bob Weir, exemplified the continued and growing community frustration. — Editor
I am writing, again, to re-assert my strenuous objection to the new and invasive lighting on my street and throughout the town.
As you are aware, I am not alone in my aversion to the character of these new lights which invade every room of my two-story house.
In speaking with a Hydro employee who works in the department responsible for the Province wide replacement of public lighting, I understand there are options for lower (warmer) Kelvin as well as lower wattages. He said that a request for change is possible if made by the Town.
So I ask you, what and when will someone take action on this matter?
Thank you for your attention.
A reply would be appreciated, preferably by someone who is willing to take this seriously. Another auto note that my correspondence has been logged for the next council meeting is insufficient at this point.
Melissa Vanry, Qualicum Beach
Council conduct at Pheasant Glen Public Hearing
[During the Pheasant Glen Public Hearing] there were suggestions from several people that the mayor recuse himself and/or slow the proposal process because of “association with members of our development community, his campaign contributors and more.” Given these factors, plus his proclivity so far to fast-track this proposal, these suggestions seem valid to me.
Council passed a motion on August 12, 2019 to have Town staff examine options to introduce a code of conduct for council members. Councillor Robert Filmer introduced the motion and is quoted as noting, “Every council I know of now has a code of conduct except for us.”
I can’t see such a code of conduct on the Town website so, in its absence, it seems reasonable to look at what appears to be the model for other councils, namely the North Cowichan code. That document includes these provisions: “Conflict of Interest – A conflict of interest exists when an individual is, or could be, influenced, by a personal interest, financial or otherwise, when carrying out their public duty. Personal interest can include direct or indirect financial interest, bias, pre-judgment, close-mindedness or undue influence.” “5.4 Council and Committee Members are expected to be aware of appearances and strive to conduct themselves in a manner that upholds or increases the public trust by taking steps to reduce or eliminate the possible appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Given the comments at the Public Hearing, we have some “appearance” of conflict of interest as defined above. One commentator said that, in a small community, you can’t stop elected representatives from mixing with and receiving donations from proposers of developments. That’s true, but only within the bounds of preserving independence. There’s at least a perception that, in this case, the mayor has overstepped them.
In my view, recusal of the mayor and/or slowing of the process are valid suggestions and would lead to a cleaner and more trusted outcome.
John Beaton, Qualicum Beach
Chamber of Commerce articles
I congratulate Second Opinion on the anonymously, (Editor?), written article entitled “Chamber of Commerce erasing QB from the tourism map” and “Council by-election candidate surprises” [in Breakers]. The subtle way these articles were linked together so the reader was sure to notice one of the candidates running for council was responsible for helping to erase QB from the tourism map was quite the journalistic achievement. Never mind the fact we’re in the grips of a pandemic which worsened in our area as a result of tourists coming to Vancouver Island during the very weekend “we” did their survey. Imagine how much worse it could be if our tourist mat wasn’t rolled up?
Tim Benesh, Qualicum Beach
Editor’s response: Please note that the article “Chamber of Commerce erasing QB from the tourism map” wasn’t written by an anonymous author. I am the editor and also the person who wrote the article. My identity is disclosed in the About Us section of Second Opinion QB. We use “Editor” for my byline to ensure that readers don’t confuse my articles with the articles written by our Civic Affairs Analyst, Gil Sampson.
A reader writes regarding our article Chamber of Commerce erasing QB from the tourism map:
Has the chamber been posed the concerns in your article and have they replied. If they have, can you please update the story with their response, if they were not posed the concerns, can you also update your story that they were not approached.
I live in QB and support looking out for what is best for our community so thanks for the time you are putting in. BUT what is best should always be done in the most transparent of ways that allows an individual, business or group to be given an adequate amount of time to respond to any story that is being written about them. If the chamber ignored your request(s) then let us know or if the chamber did respond then their responses should be added to the story. Right now, it just appears the story was written without giving them the chance to respond and that, in my opinion, takes away from the story.
Keep up the good work and please take this as constructive feedback for improvement and a way to strengthen readership.
Angela Reid, Qualicum Beach
Editor’s Response: Thank you for your feedback Angela. The content of the article you refer to was either our factural observations as confirmed by photographs and other reference material, or our personal impressions, neither of which require any fact-checking with or validation from the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has not refuted any of what we reported. If and when we receive related information from the Chamber of Commerce that would be of value to our readers, we will gladly pass it on.
Waterfront cycling hazard
During this past year the Town’s Waterfront Walkway Project has made several changes to facilitate the shared use of Highway 19A by vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians west of Bay Street. QB resident Lotar Maurer recently wrote to the Town Council, and Town staff Bob Weir and Luke Sales expressing concern about a continuing hazard for cyclists. — Editor
“I want to bring to your attention a hazardous situation for bicyclists within the Town, and to suggest a possible, and cost-effective, means of mitigating the hazard.
I’m referring to Hwy 19A adjacent to the stretch of waterfront homes between the end of the public beach / promenade and the Shady Rest.
Since the recent reconfiguration of the road to accommodate the new pedestrian walkway, it has become very hazardous for cyclists travelling northbound (or westbound, depending on your perspective) to share the road with motorized traffic. The roadway has been narrowed so much that there is zero shoulder left to ride along. A cyclist cannot ride any further to the right, either because of the placement of the concrete barrier immediately adjacent to the roadway, or because of the lack of clearance between residents’ vehicles parked between the narrowed roadway and the pedestrian walkway.
Moreover, in the right-most approximately 20 cm of the roadway, immediately left of the concrete barrier, the pavement is so broken up as to add to the hazard of trying to cycle as far to the right as practicable. There is so little cyclist’s room that motorized vehicle traffic is constantly squeezing by the cycle traffic without regard to the legal minimum 1-meter distancing requirement. The practical alternative for cyclists not wishing to take (or, for visiting cycle tourists, not knowing) alternative routes through the Town is for the cyclists to “take the lane” as recommended in all effective cycling training manuals. This sets up a potentially hazardous conflict with motorists who don’t understand, or don’t like, the “take the lane” approach.
I suggest the following mitigation. The roundabout construction has presumably eliminated the two pedestrian-activated flashing lights. These could be repurposed by placing them, respectively, at the southern (or eastern) and northern (or western) ends of the narrowed section of the road, to be cyclist activated. These would be accompanied by signs at both ends alerting motorists of “Cyclists ahead when lights flashing”. Upon activation, the signals would flash to alert the motorists to be alert and to be prepared to slow their speeds when encountering cyclists. Such systems are in common use throughout many parts of North America where bicycle traffic has to share either narrow roadways, bridges, or tunnels, with motor vehicles. This location is an ideal place to implement the same system in Qualicum Beach.
As I was drafting this letter, the latest [April] Town Tidings arrived in my email. I read therein that additional roadway-narrowing is planned for the southern side of the roadway to accommodate additional vehicle parking along the waterfront park area. This plan appears to have potential for further reducing roadway width available for cyclists, by allowing parking immediately adjacent to where cyclists ride. In developing the details of this parking project, please consider making the ditch infill and parking facilities sufficiently wide to allow at least a full meter of cyclist riding space beyond the open-door width of the parking vehicles.
Lotar Maurer, Qualicum Beach