Despite a looming building permit, the City of Parksville and School District 69 (Qualicum) are embarking on a detailed analysis of the impact of the Family Place on pedestrian and automobile traffic in the area.
Traffic along Highway 19A and the intersections with Bay, Finholm, Dogwood and Moilliet streets, was identified as an issue in the city’s 2002 Transportation Master Plan, but the looming construction of a $7 million government facility on the school district land has accelerated the issue.
Chief administrative officer Fred Manson said a building permit had not been issued, but it was “imminent.”
Under the tight time constraints staff recommended Monday night that Boulevard Transportation Group, currently updating the city’s transportation plan, be hired at a cost not exceeding $15,000 to provide options.
Councillor Al Greir said he would not support spending the money, suggesting there are city staff capable of doing the work.
“I think a little common sense can go a long way,” he said, adding residents often complain that the city uses too many consultants.
Coun. Teresa Patterson said she agreed in general, but she felt they needed to go to an outside firm in this case so the city is perceived to be hands off.
Manson said there are staff who could do the basic work but not the actual service ratings at the technical and legal level required for large scale government projects.
In question period at the end of the meeting, several members of the gallery questioned using Boulevard, who were criticized for a transportation open house in June 2009.
It was pointed out that Boulevard already has a lot of the data and expertise on hand, which is important given the timeline.
Acting mayor Chris Burger later explained that it is unusual to be embarking on the traffic analysis parallel to the development planning process, that usually they would like to have it done before, but because it is a government project not requiring rezoning, the city has almost no leverage.
While the city is paying for the study they are developing the terms of reference with the school district and will work with them when the options are presented.