Council is pictured in a file photo from the Jan.15, 2018 at Courtenay City Hall. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
While he still has concerns about the project, Mayor Larry Jangula says the changes to 5th Street are happening.
Under a program known as the Complete Streets Pilot Project, Courtenay’s municipal government will be making significant changes to 5th Street, starting in April.
Under the current plan laid down by the city, the stretch of the route from Menzies Avenue to Fitzgerald Avenue will be remade, with the aim of adding bike lanes, rain gardens, and changing the intersection of 5th Street and Fitzgerald Avenue over to a four-way stop, instead of an eight way stop.
The project came to the council table on Monday evening, when the results of a “pop-up” study were discussed. The city had made temporary adjustments to the route to mimic what the pilot project would do, once completed.
Councillors were doubtful about the “pop-up” changes being positively received by the public, with Councillor Doug Hillian stating he had avoided the intersection, and Councillor Manno Theos saying he had seen many negative reactions on social media.
Jangula had also voiced concerns about the project, with a focus on the lack of any change to overhead infrastructure such as telephone poles and electrical posts. He described that aspect of the plan as a “huge mistake”.
Speaking with 98.9 The Goat on Tuesday, Jangula said he didn’t think there was any will to change the project as it stands currently.
“I don’t think council were willing to look at it any further either, they just wanted to get it done,” said Jangula.
“I’m not throwing them under the bus here, that’s just my observation. We all want to get it done, I feel the same way.”
He feels that the project could have been better, and there could have been an underground conduit installed to run wiring through. He also expressed doubts about the intersection changes.
“I certainly have had way more complaints than I’ve had compliments on it, and I know some of the businesses that are affected there had some concerns, and I know that it’s backed traffic up,” said Jangula.
“Staff seemed to indicate that that wasn’t their finding, but again, I would have to respectfully disagree.”
Despite the concerns raised by both himself and council, Jangula indicated that the project will still be moving forward, with a construction schedule still being developed to finish work by December.
“I’m sure that staff will be working pretty feverishly on getting it all basically up front, because last night I assume was the last hurdle,” said Jangula.
The total cost is set at $3.253 million, all of which is being paid by a grant from federal gas taxes.
A public open house on the project is being planned for Jan. 25.