Category Archives: Saltair News

Saltair Cyclists at Risk on Chemainus Road


By Peter W. Rusland of the Chemainus Valley Courier, September 2016 Edition

SALTAIR – folks in Saltair are demanding proper bike and pedestrian lanes along Chemainus Road to allow safe access to alternative transportation.

Jason Wilson of Saltair In Motion Group is angry, bike and walking lanes have been studied, and are a part of Trans Canada Trail plans, and are shown as necessary in Saltair’s 2005 Official Community Plan, but the OCP’s shoulder lanes “have been ignored for over a decade,” he said.

With no government action, residents take big risks along the five -kilometre stretch between where North Cowichan’s lanes end and Ladysmith’s start.

Wilson explained Chemainus Road’s northbound shoulder lane is not a real bike-pedestrian lane but a painted shoulder that’s crumbling and lousy with deep potholes.

“The southbound lane has nothing, not even a painted line”. So some riders, walkers and scooter drivers illegally head south in the northbound lane.

“Saltair should have the same safety structure provided as North Cowichan and Ladysmith’s,” Wilson fumed, citing the 2002 Chemainus Cycling Study calling for lanes.

The planned Trans-Canada Trail along Chemainus Road is “designated, but not complete. We’ve got a glaring need. It’s been put on the back burner”. “Our community can’t safely walk or ride along Chemainus Road because there are no shoulders and we can’t access our community safely”.

He’s also puzzled why a recent bike rodeo planned for Chemainus Elementary School students was suddenly scrapped by school administration.

However, adult cyclists made the perilous ride through Saltair to the school in Chemainus “as is our legal right and to draw attention to how difficult it is for us to share the road.”

Wilson shared his safety-lane concerns with the Cowichan Valley Regional District board in March 2016. He explained how a female cyclist was hit on the Chemainus Road stretch – also used by industrial traffic – in July 2015, then airlifted to hospital. Still no action!

“It’s like we’re second-class citizens. It’s like a ghetto town here,” he said.

“Any upgrades to roads should have concessions for cyclists and walkers, so we move away from being a car-centric community.”

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA and avid cyclist, Doug Routley agreed. “Chemainus Road is terrifying at times.” You’re in single file but there is nowhere to go, and tight bends with no shoulders.” His pending private member’s bill could establish a one-metre gap law as a minimum passing distance between riders and vehicles. “It could be a death sentence to a rider but not to a driver. Right now the law is the rider must be as far to the right as practicable. Its absolutely a non-motor vehicle user issue,” said Routley

Meanwhile, cyclist and Area G Saltair Director Mel Dorey was sorry to say Minister of Transportation Stone may simply have to have staff study Saltair’s lane needs. “Some people say there are 17,000 people in Chemainus, Ladysmith and Saltair who would use them, including kids going to school. There is a need. “The transportation ministry often say they just don’t have any money, but it would be great for our area in economic development for restaurants, B&B’s and the safety of local residents,” he said.

Saltair in Motion Update!

The Saltair in Motion cyclists braved the elements and poor road conditions riding from Saltair Community Centre to Chemainus on Friday Sept. 23. !!

The rally was organized to publicize the need for safe cycling paths along Chemainus Road and for the completion of the Saltair section of theTrans Canada Trail .

A big Thank you to Ladysmith Tim Hortons for providing the hot coffee and Chemainus Old Town Bakery for the warm fresh donuts on this rainy morning.

The group also conducted a traffic study on Chemainus Road over the summer months to provide proof of the heavy traffic on Chemainus Road and photos to show the critical need of cycling/pedestrian lanes. Data collected will be submitted to CVRD for grant applications to complete Trans Canada Trail and to Ministry of Transportation.

Thank you again to all the volunteer data collectors and cyclists who support the group’s efforts.

Crime Prevention Tips

There are a number of things that residents can do to discourage thieves:
1. Be on watch for any suspicious activity and report it to the RCMP at 250 245 2215. This may be, noticing a vehicle moving slowly and occupants staring intently at open garages, etc. Notate the description ie: colour, make, and license plate number of vehicle, occupants and if possible take  photos!  Be cautious of people coming to your door claiming to be lost or using the pretense of answering an ad about a car or RV for sale.
2. If you witness a break in or burglary in progress, call 911, immediately.
3. Know your immediate neighbors, exchange telephone numbers, exchange information about extended absences and arrangements about property monitoring.
4. Report any property loss no matter how insignificant you think it is. RCMP find this sort of information important to establish patterns that may lead to identity / apprehension of perpetrators.
5. Mark your property items with your B. C. driver’s license number. This will help in apprehension of those having unauthorized possession of the items and the return of the items.
6. Get together with your neighbours and organize a neighborhood  program such as COPS or Neighborhood Watch. The RCMP will assist organizing one.
7. Install motion lights and if possible closed circuit cameras. If you are contemplating a video system it is best to consult an expert on the type, installation and location. The sudden appearance of light may well scare an intruder away. Pictures of the intruder will help apprehension.
8. Always lock your vehicle and do not leave items of value in view when leaving your vehicle unattended. Take your vehicle insurance and registration documents with you if you are leaving your vehicle in a public place for an extended period of time. Thieves breaking into your vehicle will conclude that you are not home and use the documents to identify your residence. Your residence may become a prime target.
9. Place easily moved items such as tools, lawnmowers, chainsaws, wheel barrows, etc. in a secure location – locked shed, closed garage, etc.
10. Keep doors and accessible windows closed and locked at night. For obvious reasons keep ladders in a secure place.
11. Collect your mail on a regular basis. Do not leave mail overnight.
Do these things and you  will reduce the risk of property theft for yourself and your neighbours