North Ganges pathway project moves forward

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The Salt Spring Island Transportation Commission heard from a number of delegates calling for improvements to the transportation network in and around Ganges Thursday while reporting mostly positive results on the North Ganges Transportation Plan.

Allen Xu, the Capital Regional District engineer for Salt Spring, told commissioners that work on the Rainbow Road branch of the project is on time and on budget and is expected to be ready in time for the start of the school year, as planned. Work on Lower Ganges Road is also expected to be completed on time or early.

Xu reported a potential setback on Rainbow Road, however, which has delayed paving of a section of the pathway between the school district’s work yard and Windsor Plywood. A metal culvert located under the right-of-way has been discovered to have deteriorated and will need to be replaced.

While the culvert is the property of Windsor Plywood, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the company will be responsible for replacing it, the commission agreed to entertain funding around half the cost, up to a maximum $10,000. The amount is available in the project’s contingency fund.

Salt Spring’s CRD senior manager Karla Campbell explained there was a reason for the commission to act quickly and to help Windsor.

“It is going to cause some project delays, which [the commission] would be incurring, so it just might help facilitate a goodwill relationship with them, and recognition of the work they did do,” Campbell said.

Windsor Plywood co-owner Ken Marr told the commission back in 2013 that a wide ditch and a huge berm were previously located in the right-of-way out front of the construction supply store. Windsor and Richard Murakami, whose property is across the road, collaborated to put in the culvert and created an area for parking in 1992, which Marr said was okayed by the then Ministry of Highways with a “handshake deal.” That work created the filled area where the pathway is now located.

Xu estimated that replacing the culvert would cost a maximum $23,000 under the worst-case scenario.

The commission further voted to ask the transportation ministry to investigate the drainage system all along the right-of-way on Rainbow Road. A drainage study was not done before the work proceeded, although the commission had been waiting for years to start the NGTP because of known issues and an unwillingness to take on the ministry’s responsibility. Campbell explained that MoTI had agreed to maintain responsibility and liability for drainage issues in the pathway area as long as the CRD built the pathway to its standards.

For more on this story, see the Sept. 2, 2020 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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