Roadside Brushing and Fall Grading

CapHwys sent over a brushing mower last week to begin work improving sight lines on all the main roads to and including Indian Point. The roadside vegetation has been left to overgrow into the roadways through the decades, making the roads narrower, and importantly, causing a multitude of blind spots for drivers. MOTI’s intention is to brush the roadside for sight lines and safety, without having to brush to the full maintenance specification, where it’s not necessary. Danger trees on the roadside (identified by residents) are being dealt with by MOTI, as best they can with their limited funding.

MOTI came to the island to look at what needs to be graded this fall. The new gravel has helped the roads hold up better than before, but the heavy rains we’ve had over the last month are creating pot-holes in a number of areas where the roads aren’t draining properly. The fall grading will hopefully fix the main roads so they hold up better though the winter.

Review of Summer Policing

There was a meeting with the RCMP Powell River Detachment on Monday October 7, attended by ASIC Directors, qRD, SIVFD, and MOTI. The purpose was to review public safety concerns of the 2019 summer season, and to plan for the 2020 summer season.

Topics ranged from: the increasing number of tourists, summer residents and guests on Savary roads; the increasing number of unlicensed and uninsured vehicles; unsafe speeds of some drivers; speed limits; underage drivers; and drinking while driving.

The RCMP understands that the island is rapidly growing in population in the summer season, and will look into increasing patrols next year.

Parking Mess

The congestion at the wharf is getting worse every year.

By last spring, well over 30 of the parked vehicles were unlicensed and uninsured, intentionally being left there as long-term storage. Not much has changed so it’s already bad this fall. This is causing people to park on the roadway which is restricting emergency vehicle access.

The RCMP will be working with MOTI to tackle the ever-growing number of unlicensed and uninsured vehicles on the roads, starting with the wharf area. This might include fines, towing and removal of vehicles from Savary.

Helicopter Evacuations and Herchmer Road

There have been 6 helicopter medical evacuations on Savary so far this year. This is an unusually high number for the island. Four of those helicopter landings were directed to the southwest Medevac site on Sunset Trail.

The road to get to that Medevac site is along Herchmer Road, between Vancouver Blvd and Sunset Trail. The road has pot-holes as big as ponds in the wet season. There is sometimes so much water that the driver cannot see what might be hidden below the surface that could damage the FR vehicle. A large rock? A large root? So driving speed is limited to a slow crawl. The road conditions are doing two things that are potentially negative to patient outcomes: slowing down the time it takes to get to hospital; and rocking the patient around which is uncomfortable and possibly puts them at more risk.

Obviously, this is counter productive to the need for calling in a helicopter in the first place. It must change.

At the ASIC AGM in July this topic came up, and there was a positive response to the idea that something had to be done, asap. So ASIC is taking preliminary steps to come up with ideas and solutions that we can present to MOTI for their feedback, and to our local government (qRD) for funding and possible project management. So far, we have a great start from Steve Lackey and Marco Rowan, both from Indian Point, because they’ve done an initial plan for the 381-metre section of road. The ideal long-term goal is to upgrade the road so that MOTI will take over maintenance, to make the road safe year-round for emergency access. We do not know if that is feasible due to the MOTI standards for road building that we were given, which exceed anything else done on Savary roads, by quite a bit.

So the choices come down to building to those standards for long-term maintenance or do something simpler in scale, a community option, that will solve the problem for the next 10-15 years, and that Savaryites will have to periodically maintain by ourselves.  It’s too early in the concept stage to decide yet.  In the meantime, if you see some survey stakes along Herchmer in the coming months, they are just an indication of the full 66 ft road allowance so that private property is not touched during the upgrade. It is not the planned road width. The traveled road will remain where it is for most of its length.

Also, to clarify, there is no upgrade planned for any portion of Sunset Trail. The only upgrade being discussed is for Herchmer Road, just the section between Vancouver Blvd and the hill before Sunset Trail.

Patient Transport on Savary is Still a Problem

First Responders have to wait for BCAS Paramedics to be brought to a scene so that they can drive the FR vehicle. Every 9-1-1 call is far longer than it needs to be. This is especially significant when the Paramedics from the helicopter have to be driven to the location of the medical call, just so they can drive the FR vehicle and patient back to the helicopter.

It’s been 3 years since the rules changed around patient transport. The BC government has not given the SIVFD any hope of a coming change. So they are looking to reopen the issue this fall and winter. A number of ASIC members wrote letters a few years ago, and the SIVFD might need your help again to bring this back to the government’s attention.

ASIC Membership

There is no fee, and all Savary property owners (on title) and their spouses/partners are eligible to be members of ASIC. Send your email, tel/cel, home and Savary addresses to asic@savaryisland.org or mail PO Box 222, Lund, BC V0N 2G0.

Public Use of the Savary Island Conservation Area

A number of ASIC members have been asking about what’s now allowed on the Nature Trust land since they took ownership of District Lots 1375, 35 and 36. We anticipate that signage will be going up throughout the property in the near future, and according to the latest SILT newsletter, the Nature Trust of BC intends to begin the management planning process for the Savary Island Conservation Area in 2020. But for 2019, Interim Guidelines are in place for public access to these conservation lands. The public is welcome to enjoy the property for hiking and nature appreciation, but asked to please adhere to the following: No Camping, No Fires, No Motorized Vehicles.

What’s The Rush?

Our roads are narrow, curved, and are shared by pedestrians, pets and cyclists.  The summer is a period with a lot of energetic children on the roads; crossing to get to the beach, or on their small bicycles.  If you’re heading to the Water Taxi or barge, please leave ample time before departure, and drive slowly after leaving the barge. 

FireSmart Rebate Program

Property owners who make FireSmart improvements to their properties can apply for a rebate for cleanup costs, even if you do it yourself. The program is limited so act now if you are interested in getting a free assessment and more information. Contact the qRD’s FireSmart Coordinator at firesmartpr@gmail.com or call 604-414-7839.

FireSmart will also be explained at the Evacuation Planning Meeting on Savary. Come learn about how to assess your property for its exposure to the risks of wildfire.