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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Alberni athletes put on fitness ‘FUNdraiser’ for frontline workers

Outdoor boot camp will be limited to 50, with donations helping frontline workers’ mental health

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Airforce search and rescue helicopter drops in at Cameron Lake for training

Distinctive yellow CH-149 Cormorant turns heads after using Island lake for impromptu hoist

QUINN’S QUIPS: What makes a building historically significant?

There’s a difference between heritage designation and a heritage register

Nominate a hero for BC Autism Awards

Quality Foods sponsoring the third annual awards

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Garbage truck knocks down lamp post onto pickup in north Nanaimo

Emergency crews respond to Dickinson Crossing plaza mall Friday afternoon

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read