Alberni Valley still waiting for highway

The Horne Lake Connector may be dead, but Coun. Jack McLeman so far isn’t impressed with the transportation ministry’s alternatives.

ELENA RARDON

ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS

The Horne Lake Connector may be dead, but Port Alberni City Councillor Jack McLeman so far isn’t impressed with the transportation ministry’s alternatives.

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) has long promoted the construction of a new highway in addition to Highway 4, linking the City of Port Alberni to the Inland Island Highway.

The construction of such a highway, according to a business case study, would address safety and congestion concerns and increase travel reliability in the case of an incident on Highway 4.

But the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has been more vocal about making improvements to the existing Highway 4 than funding a new route. Earlier this month they announced the Horne Lake Connector was too expensive and therefore they would improve Highway 4 instead.

“We met with the (transportation) ministry and they explained that they might give us a 30-kilometre-per-hour road down to Lake Cowichan, which I didn’t think was something we were looking for,” Councillor Jack McLeman said during his report to the Port Alberni City Council on Monday Nov. 28.

“They gave us a sketch of a possible road,” explained McLeman. “The road is paved, but it’s very narrow. Speed isn’t something you’re going to be doing on it.

“It doesn’t open up any economy for us,” he added.

The theoretical road was compared to the Pacific Marine Circle Route, which is a remote route that travels from Victoria to Port Renfrew. The problem with a circle route, said McLeman, is that it does not provide a means in and out of Port Alberni.

“If you’re cut off from somewhere, you don’t get there,” said McLeman. “That’s our biggest concern, is the safety.”

He cited the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray this summer, noting that most people were able to make it to safety because of the long stretch of straight highway. “We don’t have that.”

Some of these modifications proposed for Highway 4 include safety improvements at Cathedral Grove, an extension of the westbound passing lane near the Port Alberni “Hump,” an upgrade to the Highway 4/ Highway 19 interchange and widening of the highway at Angel Rock along Cameron Lake.

The Highway 4 improvements are scheduled to take place into 2027, which isn’t good enough for McLeman.

“These are Band-Aid solutions,” he said. “Why are they taking so long?”

The committee asked for a meeting with Minister Todd Stone to speed up the improvements on Highway 4, but was unable to meet with him. McLeman said another attempt at a meeting will be made.

Also at the Nov. 28 council meeting, councillor Dan Washington brought up a new Facebook group called “Port Alberni Summit Conditions (“How’s the Hump?”).”

The group allows people to supply live updates regarding the road conditions on the summit of Highway 4 for anyone travelling in or out of Port Alberni.

“It’s just a great tool to have,” said Washington.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/alberninews

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

 

Just Posted

Lease agreement signed for Port Alberni oil spill response base

25-year lease agreement is part of a larger expansion plan

Cherry Creek sets water restrictions for summer 2018

Stage One water restrictions are in effect immediately

EDITORIAL: Rezoning would unravel red tape for business in Port Alberni

Harbour Quay is traditionally for tourist and marine-based businesses…

Satellite visitors’ centre opens in Port Alberni Train Station

Chamber of commerce, McLean Mill will share staffing duties in new centre

Alberni Golf Club goes red, white and blue

Corey Nielson led all golfers, carding a gross 71

VIDEO: Sproat Lake hosts annual regatta

2018 Alberni Valley event featured two days of boat racing action

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

14-year-old pilot attempts to break Guinness World Record at B.C. airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab wants to become youngest pilot with fewest hours logged to fly solo

Most Read