Montrose – Better highway lighting means one less crosswalk

Montrose council had a plateful of business to digest in chamber Monday night, including the removal of the 6th St crosswalk.

From crosswalk to skate park and rezoning to development, Montrose council had a plateful of business to digest in chamber Monday night.

First up, a Montrose citizen questioned the sense of removing a safety crosswalk along the village’s main drag.

The 6th Street crossing on Highway 3B will be removed when the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) rolls through the municipality later this year.

The province agreed to pay for better lighting, improved signage and high visibility paint at pedestrian crossings along the highway – but only at three crossings, not the four that are currently in place.

The decision was based on reported vehicle conflicts at each of the locations.

“Last year, we met with the ministry at the UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) and asked for the same lighted crosswalk that Fruitvale has, at our crosswalks,” Montrose Mayor Joe Danchuk explained to the resident, referring to the highly visible spot on Highway 3B and Nelson Avenue, next to the Villagers Pub and Hotel. “They said Fruitvale has one crossing and we have four,” he added. “They said four was too many, and asked us to go down to two, but we said absolutely not.”

Instead, the MoTI committed to new lighting along the corridor, and further improve visibility with signs and paint at the Third, Fifth and Seventh street crosswalks.

“I believe that this is just a tit for tat, I will give you this if you give me that,” the resident replied. “The village should not be giving up something as simple as a pedestrian crossing for the safety of its people. As a progressive village council I am asking you to approach and convince the ministry to reconsider this decision to eliminate the pedestrian crossing at 10th Avenue (the highway) and 6th Street.”

During a later discussion, the mayor reiterated the ministry considers council’s original request for well lit crossings at all four locations, “not warranted.”

“They are looking to upgrade lighting through the whole corridor so drivers can see further ahead,” said Bryan Teasdale, chief administrative officer. “That probably won’t solve every problem. We need everyone to bring in any conflict they have so we can log that information and build a business case, go back to the UBCM again and sit down with the ministry and say we are still having issues.”

Danchuk said the resident was the only person to step forward with concerns to date, but his insight would be documented.

“We will keep you updated,” Danchuk concluded. “But right now, it does look like we are going to lose 6th, unless something changes.”

The resident countered that he read about the matter in the newspaper (Trail Times, Feb. 26 Community Comment by Joe Danchuk) but many of his peers are not subscribers.

“But I am here for the safety of our children and have done all I can do,” he added.


Anti-skate park letter dampens spirit

Council addressed an email submitted to Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) by a Montrose resident, strongly opposed to upgrading the Beaver Valley Skate Park (former Montrose Skate Park on 9th Avenue). After years of proposing improvements to the site, the Beaver Valley Recreation Committee recently submitted an application to the CBT Recreation Infrastructure Program for funding to fix up the 13-year old facility. In light of the grant application, the writer presented concerns such as vandalism, noise, and loss of property value, on behalf of impacted homeowners.

Council agreed to send CBT a letter, outlining the previous processes undertaken for project planning before the rec committee agreed to move ahead and pursue help with funding.


Rezoning denied at school site

The 9th Avenue property was previously rezoned to allow for the development of a senior’s housing complex. That project never came to fruition before the land was sold, the current owner uses the property as a storage warehouse and occasional cleaning facility.

The temporary use permit would shift use from residential (R2) to commercial for up to two years allowing the light-construction company to continue operations from that location. But in a vote of three to two, the request was denied. Council noted concerns about property development and the owner’s absence from an invite to further discuss the application in chamber.

New roof for village office

Council awarded a $17,600 contract to BF Roofing Ltd. for the replacement of the village office roof. Four quotes were submitted to replace the roof, which was installed in 2008. Though still under warranty, Teasdale reports the installer of the foam roof system and the installer’s product supplier are currently in a legal dispute. The village was advised by the company that it is not in a position to honour the product warranty, but Teasdale noted staff is currently reviewing options for the village to further pursue the contract matter.


8th Street lot development approved

A development permit for a single family dwelling at 916 8th Street was approved following the applicant’s submission that included a geotechnical assessment. Under the Official Community Plan, the village requires conditions for residential development to tackle parameters such as protection of the natural environment and hazardous conditions. The Steep Slope Development Permit Area designation is to ensure existing site-constraints, such as ground water flows and exposed bedrock, are adequately addressed.