Sechelt council approved temporary removal of bollards restricting through vehicle traffic on Baillie Road in West Sechelt at its April 17 meeting. A traffic counter will be installed to monitor road usage. After these changes have been in place for 60 days, staff will report back to council about traffic on the road.
When the requested report comes to council, a decision on the bollards may be considered, or an extended period of monitoring may be asked for. The earliest that a decision on this matter can be made is likely July.
The bollards, which stop vehicles from travelling on Baillie between Tyler and Oracle Roads have been the subject of debate in the neighbourhood. Two earlier staff reports recommending removal have come before council. In both cases, when council was slated to consider the issue, the meetings were packed with area residents in favour and opposed to the change. At the most recent meeting, Mayor Darnelda Siegers noted an absence of concerned neighbours in attendance. She also noted that council has not received emails expressing concerns. Council asked staff to ensure that area residents are made aware of the plan to take the bollards out and monitor traffic levels.
The bollards were put in place as a district condition for the Tyler Heights subdivision development in 2007. They were intended as a temporary measure to limit construction traffic impacts for residents during the subdivision build out. Studies done for developments in the area suggested that traffic counts on Baillie could reach 900 trips per day by 2014.
Thirty-six fewer residential units were built in the Tyler development than were planned for. This, in conjunction with the construction of other neighbourhood roads, has resulted in Baillie traffic volumes being estimated by district staff at the much lower rate of 200 to 250 trips per day.
Baillie is a public road. The district’s intent has always been to connect Oracle and Tyler Roads via Baillie. Further development of Tyler is being considered, to make it a connector between West Sechelt and the downtown area. By having the bollards in place, residents along Baillie have retained the unintended benefit of not having connecting traffic use the road in front of their homes.
Snow removal and other district road maintenance activities are made more difficult by the bollards. They also complicate emergency vehicle access in the area. Bollard removal has been requested by the fire department and ambulance service, as well as some area residents.