David Reid of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure staff speaks to members of the public during a public info session at the Friendship Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 21. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

David Reid of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure staff speaks to members of the public during a public info session at the Friendship Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 21. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Provincial dialogue begins over Cathedral Grove traffic

Transportation ministry holds open houses asking for suggestions

Port Alberni residents who missed a public open house last week will still have a chance to provide input on the traffic and pedestrian problems at Cathedral Grove.

Located in MacMillan Provincial Park, Cathedral Grove has become a local, national and international attraction, but its popularity has also led to issues surrounding pedestrian safety and parking along the highway.

An open house at the Friendship Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 21 provided an opportunity for members of the public to chat with employees from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. A number of storyboards and posters walked through the safety concerns that have already been raised to the Ministry.

“This is an opportunity to start having that dialogue,” said Janelle Staite, regional deputy director with the Ministry, on Wednesday. “For tonight, we’re not bringing solutions. We’re looking for feedback from the public.”

Those who missed the session last week can still engage online via http://engage.gov.bc.ca/cathedralgrove. Visitors can view storyboards from the open houses, sign up for project updates and provide feedback through a questionnaire that asks a number of specific questions. Feedback will be accepted until Jan. 4. Comments or questions can also be submitted to the project team by calling 250-751-3126 or emailing cathedralgrove@gov.bc.ca.

Following this feedback will be an engagement summary report in Spring 2019, said Staite.

“The intent is to work really collaboratively to understand how we address the concerns of the park while also preserving the park,” said Staite.

Cathedral Grove sees about half a million visitors per year, said Staite. There are currently about 50 parking spots available.

“The actual demand for [parking] exceeds that by about double,” said Staite. “Parking is a key concern.” Other concerns include pedestrians crossing the road unpredictably, congestion and cars attempting unsafe turns.

“We want to close that potential safety concern that could turn into a crash,” said Staite.

Linh Tran was one of a few Alberni District Secondary School students attending the public session on Wednesday. Although Tran is still a learner driver, she has already had to maneuver through the Grove during peak season.

“The parking lot and pedestrians crossing the road are the biggest issues that I consider,” she said, adding that she was happy to see a public event addressing some of these concerns.

Port Alberni resident Sandy McRuer pointed out that the problem is growing and getting worse every year.

“People are going to have to make some concessions somehow,” he said. “It’s going to grow, whether you like it or not.”

He suggested adding more messaging for pedestrians as a short-term plan. “There’s lots of messaging to drivers already,” he said. “But not a lot for pedestrians.”

A few more ideas were heard throughout the night: many suggested keeping a separation between pedestrians and traffic, either with barriers or an underpass or overpass. One person suggested adding a traffic light. Others recommended building another road entirely—possibly an extension of the highway from Horne Lake to Cherry Creek.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will continue listening to ideas, before sharing initial safety concepts with the public.

“This really is just an early stage,” said Staite. “There [are] a number of different ideas that have been out there. We want to see what ideas resonate and what ideas are concerning.”

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Francine Cunningham is an award-winning Indigenous writer, artist and educator. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Electric Mermaid online event hosts panel of Indigenous writers

Event takes place through Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

San Group owners Suki, left, and Kamal Sanghera with technical manager Richard Zeller at their facility in Port Alberni in Feb. 2021. The forestry company is looking at expanding its business into northwest B.C. by setting up a manufacturing unit in Terrace. (SUSAN QUINN/ Black Press file photo)
Forestry company San Group eyes Terrace for northwest B.C expansion

The company looks at Skeena Industrial Park to set up a sawmill manufacturing unit

This photo of the Rack and Rally squash club was taken in June 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Improvements planned for Third Avenue squash club

City council concerned about how long construction is taking

EJ Dunn principal Darrin Olson, left, and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Councils Richard Samuel, right, present Trey Kyte, second from left, with his Grades 2-3 Spring Festival 2021 winning poster. With them are Kytes fellow banner painters Liam Horbatch, Sybil Purwins and Macen Avery. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
SD70’s biennial First Nations spring festival goes virtual for 2021

Alberni Valley schools showcase Indigenous learnings from past year

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read