Editorial: Craziness Continues

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We hate to be cynical, but we suspected having Salt Spring road lines repainted last month was too good to be true.

Where painting has occurred in the last month since the first sighting on July 26, local drivers have felt relief knowing that the centre and sides of island roads were visible and could remain that way at least through the treacherous winter months.

Curiously, on some of the wider roads where double yellow lines were applied, only one side of the road has a new white fog line. That means people travelling on those roads on a rainy night can drive safely to an event, or back, but not both ways. We hope Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure personnel intend to ensure the line-painting contractor completes the job — but not right away, as there’s a new twist in Salt Spring’s road maintenance tale.

Last week a chip-sealing crew appeared on the island, applying asphalt and gravel to various roads, in whole or in part, to repair the numerous cracks in existing pavement. Suddenly, those beautiful white and yellow lines we’ve barely grow accustomed to vanished as quickly as they appeared.

This scenario belongs in a sit-com about bureaucratic ineptitude.

Southey Point resident Aubrey Smith is one islander who has spent a great deal of effort advocating for safer roads and refreshed road lines. He was pleased to see new lines finally appear on North End Road near Southey Point Road last month, but that was understandably replaced with “despair” when a huge swath of the road was chip-sealed, completely obscuring the lines.

It seems reasonable to assume that the road-line painters will return to re-apply lines to chip-sealed areas, but the official MoTI response so far is that “staff will continue to work with this contractor to try and replace paint, where possible.” In other words, “maybe.”

This situation is simply unacceptable. It’s ridiculous to pay contractors to paint lines on roads and then pay another company to obliterate those lines. Somebody at MoTI is making decisions that waste taxpayers money and provide poor service. Alternatively, the system is so out of whack that no decisions are made, but the result is the same.

Nothing less than new lines painted over the chip-sealed surfaces, including white fog lines on both sides of our roads, is acceptable.

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