Town will erect signage and look at installing turnaround on town land on Spartan Drive during 2014 budget talks
Town of Osoyoos council has opted to increase signage to try and limit traffic to local property owners near Spartan Drive and will discuss options to build a turnaround at the northwest end of the street on town land during upcoming budget deliberations.
Council ruled out building a huge retaining wall at a cost of almost $75,000, building a turnaround in the middle of Spartan Drive or using private property offered by a local citizen to build the turnaround.
Prior to proceeding with potential options, staff took the liberty to mail out a neighbourhood information pamphlet, which gave an overview of the project, but also allowed residents the opportunity to provide input and comments on the project, said Ron Doucette, director of operational services, during a presentation to council on Monday.
“As a result of the comments received and discussions that public works had with local residents, staff felt that other options should be considered” rather than accept the original proposal to build a huge retaining wall and build a turnaround at the northwest end of Spartan Drive, said Doucette.
In the Lacey point area, Spartan Drive simply dead ends with no provisions for vehicles to turn around. To turn around, vehicles either have to use a driveway of an adjoining property or use vacant private property beyond the end of the pavement surface.
The lack of provisions for a vehicle turnaround is in part explained by the age of the subdivision, said Doucette.
The subdivision plan for Lacey Point was registered in November of 1957 before requirements for a right of way dedication for vehicle turnarounds was adopted.
In 1997, when the former CP Railway right of way was subdivided and added to the adjacent properties, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure required some additional road dedication to enable the construction of a “hammerhead type turnaround” at the end of Spartan Drive.
Unfortunately, the ministry did not recognize this additional dedication is more than 15 feet higher than the road grade, said Doucette.
Several neighbours wrote letters to the town complaining about vehicles illegally turning around in their driveways and about the decision two years ago to turn Spartan Drive into a one-way street near the town’s marina facility.
None of the property owners felt building a turnaround halfway down Spartan Drive was acceptable or a good idea.
Mayor Stu Wells, who was in Palm Springs, California and was hooked up to the committee of the whole meeting via audio link, said erecting visible signage with strong wording warning there is no turnaround area in the Spartan Drive area should be done as quickly as possible.
Coun. C.J. Rhodes said the local property owner who offered to allow the town to use his land for a temporary vehicle turnaround should be commended, but he wasn’t in favour of a temporary solution on private property.
Rhodes agreed increased signage that clearly indicates local traffic only should be gaining access to Spartan Drive and the fact there is no turnaround would help alleviate many of the traffic problems in the area.
However, there will still be a few drivers who wander down there and will need an area to turn their vehicles around and council should look at finding a permanent, affordable solution on town land during the upcoming budget process, he said.
“We need to improve signage and discourage people from going down there,” he said. “At the end of the day, it is a dead end road and we don’t want people going down there.”
Wells added that signage should clearly state that no one but local residents should travel down towards Spartan Drive and there isn’t any access to Lions Park or the downtown by taking that route.
“That whole area should be for local traffic only,” said Wells. “Let’s make sure we get it right for the people who live on Spartan Drive.”
Chief administrative officer Barry Romanko suggested signage be posted immediately to see if it detracts from the number of vehicles heading towards Spartan Drive and then determine if council should consider spending $20,000 to $25,000 to build a turnaround as part of upcoming budget deliberations.
Wells said a turnaround will eventually have to be built because some vehicles are going to stray into the neighbourhood no matter how much signage is posted.
“I think something will eventually have to be done,” he said. “You will end up with a truck down there and in some cases, that could lead to damage.”
Wells also asked that Fire Chief Rick Jones be asked to contribute his thoughts about a possible turnaround before council makes any final decision.
Coun. Mike Plante agreed that a permanent turnaround area is going to have to be built eventually.
“There will be vehicles down there that are not wanted,” he said.
A letter to council from a homeowner on Spartan Drive states, “We cannot believe what you are planning for the turnaround.
“If you feel necessary to put in one, it should be at the end of the street, not in the middle and do we really need one when people can turn around on the empty properties?
“It would make more sense to restore Spartan Drive to a two-way road … then we wouldn’t have any problems at all. The money would be better spent and that would solve the problem. There are other places for a turnaround and it should be at the end of the street.”
A second letter echoes the same thoughts.
“We, in fact, question the need for a turnaround at all. Most non-local traffic turns around on one of the three vacant gravel lots behind our property. Should a turnaround on Spartan be required, the end of the road is the only logical location.”