The District of Lantzville and Nanoose First Nation are calling on the province to reduce the speed limit on Highway 19.
During a council meeting on Dec. 9, Lantzville councillors voted unanimously in favour of requesting the province to reduce the speed limit through the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation stretch of the Island Highway to 80 kilometres per hour. The district and Snaw-Naw-As will now send a joint letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure requesting the speed limit be reduced.
Highway 19 runs approximately 1.4 kilometers through the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation territory, where the current speed limit is 90 km/h.
The move comes after Snaw-Naw-As council asked Lantzville councillors to support their efforts to have the speed limit reduced through their territory during a special council meeting last month. Snaw-Naw-As Coun. Brent Edwards told councillors at that meeting that his council has repeatedly asked the province to lower the speed limit through its territory without any progress.
“I know it is not going to be really popular with a lot of people that go up and down the highway but it is a really dangerous portion of the highway,” he told Lantzville councillors. “We have lost many loved ones there, inside and outside of our community. I go back to how many young people that were my age that passed away on this highway and people that are from this community; there are lots that come to mind.”
During Monday’s meeting, Coun. Will Geselbracht pointed out that a portion of Highway 19 that runs past Lantzville’s industrial area is also 80 km/h. He too many people have died over the years on the Snaw-Naw-As stretch of highway and that it was time to do something about it.
“Hopefully with increased RCMP vigilance out there and reduced speed, perhaps, we can save a few more lives,” Geselbracht said. “I don’t think it is out of the question to ask this.”
Coun. Ian Savage said driving habits aren’t “particularly improving” and believes lowering the speed limit is the best approach.
“I think that is the only solution,” he said.
Coun. Karen Proctor felt it was possible to reduce the speed limit along Highway 19 because there are other parts of the highway that have a lower speed limit.
“You have to reduce your speed to 60 in Nanoose and yet people fire through Lantzville like they are on a raceway, so I think it is possible to lower the speed limit to 80 along that corridor,” she said.
Proctor also said based on previous correspondence from the RCMP, there are sections of Highway 19 where speed enforcement isn’t realistic or safe.
“They actually won’t pull people over for speeding because it is not safe for the RCMP officer,” she said. “So, it is not safe for anyone to drive in excess speed through those areas.”