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This Changes Everything.

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  • Full Name: Peter Vincent
  • Expires: 10 days, 1 hour

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  • Item listed by: on September 3, 2017

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    We’ve all had our share of ‘Holy Crap’ moments over the past four months as the incorporation referendum draws near, but on the weekend, I just had that giant moment of clarity, that simultaneously makes me squeal with glee and shake my head in disbelief. At the recent referendum debate, David Wood made a couple of quick off-the-cuff remarks – both dealing with the roads issue – that pretty much sent me reeling to the web to confirm. David spoke of the “one-time” grants that we were eligible to receive as a Municipality. The province has earmarked a good portion of that money to upgrade the Fulford-Ganges Road (including the dreaded Ganges Hill) with 1.2 meter shoulders on both sides the road, for cyclists and walkers. That’s four feet to you and me, on both sides of the road!
    This is so spectacular on so many levels. Anyone that has lived here for any time has had a friend involved in a cycle/car altercation. We all know who comes up short in that equation. My doctor was smacked by hit and run driver in broad daylight, leaving him a crumpled mess in the ditch, my friend Matt Salo just about lost his life by St Mary Lake, again a hit and run, Susan Lundy’s daughter was smacked on Fulford Ganges Hill, pretty much ending any hopes of a soccer scholarship. Many of my biking friends won’t bike up the Ganges Hill, nor any of the roads on the rock.
    Over and above the safety factor, a Fulford to Ganges (or to Vesuvius) cycle path would result in an incredible boost to the eco-tourism industry here on the island. We would be able to offer a safe biking path to any cyclist or cycle touring business that wants to come visit our island SAFELY. The much ballyhooed Emerald Tour of Victoria to Saltspring Island to Crofton and back to Victoria would be complete! I am sure the provincial government would take no time in spending promotion dollars letting the cycling world know Saltspring Island is ready to welcome them.
    Maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention, but nobody…NOBODY…has mentioned the bike lanes, and so I confirmed it. In a letter from Minister Selina Robinson, the provincial government has confirmed that they will indeed build this cycling path. What I find really shocking is that two of the more vocal “status quo” proponents have been lobbying for years to have this cycling path built. Nowhere that I have seen have them mention this incredible bonus to Municipality. It seems incredible that they would bury this story. They are ready to sacrifice this bike lane in the name of keeping the existing form of governance. I think they call that “shooting yourself in the foot.”
    If you ride a bicycle (or may consider that option,) or if you have kids that ride bikes, or if you are in the tourism business, or the Saturday Market, or have a B&B on the island, you need to understand what an incredible opportunity we have in front of us.
    The other part of the David Wood remark that needs to be parsed is again with the roads – The Positively No side has been hammering on the road situation for months – that the ‘deplorable’ condition of our 272 kms of road will bankrupt us. But here’s the thing: of the 272 kms of roads, about 72% are in fair to good condition, so what we are talking about is the 28% that are in fair to poor condition. That’s about 75 km of roads that need attention. And I am sure that includes the abysmal seasonal road over the top of Mt Tuam to service the ten houses on the other side, which to the best of my knowledge is usually accessed by water, not the road. The 75 kms also includes Walkers Hook. Again, the Minister in her letter makes specific reference to the stabilization of the banks along Walkers Hook Road, which is one of the most travelled by tourists, walkers, cars, and cyclists on the whole island. The Fernwood Cafe is hopping all summer. So at the end of the day, we are not talking about 272 kms of terrible road. We are talking about maybe 40 kms. Holy Crap.
    Do it for the cycling paths. Do it for Walkers Hook. Do it for the tourism economy of the island. Do it for your kids. Please vote YES in the referendum.

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