Public Works & Transporation Committee Meeting Minutes - October 4, 2000





Wednesday, October 4th, 2000


Anderson Room

Richmond City Hall


Councillor Ken Johnston, Vice-Chair

Mayor Greg Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Bill McNulty


Councillor Lyn Greenhill, Chair

Councillor Derek Dang

Councillor Kiichi Kumagai

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.


It was moved and seconded

That the minutes of the meeting of the Public Works & Transportation Committee held on Wednesday, September 20th, 2000, be adopted as circulated.




(Letter: Sept. 20/00, File No.: 2270-01) (REDMS No. 191095)



(Report: Sept. 21/00, File No.: 2270-01) (REDMS No. 191093)

Mr. Ihor Pona, of 9660 Gilbert Road, addressed the Committee regarding the illegal change to the City property located in front of his home. A copy of his submission is attached as Schedule A and forms part of these minutes.

In response to questions, Mr. Pona provided the following information:


a wooden frame was constructed rather than installing a concrete culvert because of the requirement for 2 manholes and the preparation of engineering drawings, at a cost of $5,000; he felt that his alternative was sufficient as an interim measure


drainage water would flow through the sides and the ends of the frame; as well, the frame would be enveloped in gravel.

During the discussion, questions were raised about whether a swale would function as well as the structure erected by Mr. Pona. In response, Mr. Pona advised that he had been advised by Engineering staff that a ditch was required because it provided drainage for outlying properties. He stated that based on this information, he assumed that the depth of the ditch had to be maintained throughout the length of the property. The Manager, Engineering Design & Construction, Steve Ono, in answer to questions from the Mayor, advised that neither the catchment area of the ditch nor the feasibility of creating a swale, had been reviewed.

Mr. Pona continued his appeal, indicating that he was concerned about such issues as safety, health, maintenance and cost. He also stated that he was unsure that restoring the ditch to its original condition would be safer, and suggested that the existing structure would help to control the growth of weeds, as well as forcing rats and other vermin out of the area. Mr. Pona advised that he would be more than willing to pay for the cost of annual inspections of the structure to determine the condition of the frame, and in the event of deterioration, he would pay for the cost of any repairs which might be required.

In response to the suggestions, Mr. Ono provided background information on the adoption of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy in 1994, and noted that the policy included the provision for the installation of concrete culverts following the obtaining of the appropriate permit by the property owners. He stated that 52 legal ditch infill permits had been issued since the adoption of the policy.

Mr. Pona indicated that he understood the decision to restore the ditch to its original form, but questioned whether this ‘original form’ meant as the ditch was 2 or 4 months ago or 1 year ago. He also questioned whether the only option available to him was the construction of a swale, and the Vice Chair advised that staff would work with him on these options.

Mr. Pona referred to the list of properties which he had provided to City staff where the owners of those properties had illegally filled in their ditches, and questioned whether these owners would also be receiving the same notification which he had sent.

Mr. Ono stated that he would meet with Mr. Pona about the feasibility of creating a swale. With reference to the list of 68 properties provided by Mr. Pona, Mr. Ono advised that staff had investigated all of the properties on the list, and that to date, 16 notices had been issued to the owners of those properties which were not in compliance with the City’s policy.

Mr. Pona continued, suggesting that the ‘zero tolerance’ policy was not a friendly way of addressing citizens’ issues. He advised that he felt he had made every effort to learn about the City’s ditch filling regulations and that his intentions were honourable. Mr. Pona reiterated that he would be willing to pay for inspection and re-inspection in subsequent years to test the structure to ensure that the City would not held be liable.

Mr. Ono responded, stating that even though Mr. Pona’s intentions may have been honourable, there was no guarantee that he would remain at that residence and that staff had to consider the long term implications of accepting such an agreement. With reference to the unavailability of City bylaws and policies to the public, Mr. Ono, on behalf of staff, apologized to Mr. Pona if he had not been given complete information, and stated that he intended to investigate the matter with the Customer Service staff. Mr. Ono pointed out however that the ditch and road right-of-way were City property and it should be common knowledge that City property was controlled by the owner, which in this case, was the City, and that making unauthorized changes to City property should not occur and property owners should understand that.

Discussion continued, with Mr. Pona expressing concern that maintenance of the ditch, in its original form, only occurred once every 2 years. He noted that the City had many types of bylaws but suggested that responsibility also included accountability, which he felt included regular maintenance of the ditch.

The Vice Chair questioned whether the ditch problems could be a maintenance issue. In reply, Mr. Ono advised that it would be and he stated that he would review the matter with the Manager, Sewerage & Drainage.

It was moved and seconded

That the requirements of the Notice of Illegal Changes to City Property dated September 8, 2000 and issued to Mr. Ihor Pona pursuant Zero Tolerance - City Property Policy 9015 be enforced.

Prior to the question being called, staff were requested to ensure that the appropriate brochures were on display and that proper procedures to be followed were reinforced with the City’s Front Counter staff.

The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.



(Report: Sept. 21/00, File No.: 0275-01) (REDMS No. 189435)

The Vice Chair referred to correspondence dated October 1st, 2000 from Mr. Pitts who had requested that the City enter into mediation to resolve the matter.

In response to questions, City Solicitor Paul Kendrick advised that mediation would only be effective if the City had acknowledged that damage had occurred as a result of the work undertaken in front of Mr. Pitts’ home, and steps were being taken to determine an appropriate settlement. He suggested that with respect to the claim made by Mr. Pitts, mediation would not be a useful tool in this case.

It was moved and seconded

That the report (dated September 21st, 2000, from the City Solicitor), regarding the complaint of Mr. Pitts regarding investigation of his claim for damages, be received for information.

Prior to the question being called, Mr. Kendrick confirmed, in response to a question from Mayor Halsey-Brandt, that he would respond to Mr. Pitts’ October 1st letter.

The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.



(Report: Aug. 25/00, File No.: 6450-01) (REDMS No. 164679)

The Manager, Transportation, Gordon Chan, reviewed the report with Committee members.

In response to questions from the Mayor, Mr. Chan confirmed that the proposed median on Francis Road at Seafair Drive had always been part of the proposal to deter ‘rat running’ by residents of the townhouse complex, while the proposed traffic circles were intended to deal the subdivision issues.

Dr. Brett Finlay, of 8491 Seafair Drive, expressed support for the construction of traffic circles along Seafair Drive. A copy of his submission is attached as Schedule B and forms part of these minutes.

In response to questions, Dr. Finlay advised that he had only canvassed those residents who resided on Seafair Drive and that he had fully explained to these people, the proposed design and location of the traffic circles. He added that motorists speeding along this road were a major concern for the residents.

Mrs. Denise North, of 8320 Fairfax Place, indicated her opposition to the installation of traffic circles on Seafair Drive. A copy of her submission is attached as Schedule C and forms part of these minutes. The 38 questionnaires which she had obtained from area residents on this matter, and referred to in her submission, are on file in the City Clerk’s Office.

In response to questions from the Vice Chair about statements made by Ms. North, Mr. Chan advised that the decision to install the median and traffic circles had been announced at the beginning of the project, and that until this time, staff had not been aware of any complaints about the survey results. He added that the traffic count indicated that motorists were travelling in excess of 55 to 60 kilometres per hour along Seafair Drive.

In response to further questions, Mr Chan advised that a stop sign was a valid traffic control device, but according to national guidelines, there were certain conditions and criteria which would be met. He stated that the inappropriate use of stop signs could make a corner more dangerous.

Mrs. North spoke further about the proposal for a median, indicating that the letter sent by the City to area residents did not provide any information on the median, and that residents were only advised of the proposal at the open house held to discuss proposed traffic improvements. She also questioned how staff could consider the median and traffic circles to be two separate issues and why staff were using the results of the survey when these results were wrong. Mrs. North stated that many residents of the Fairfax area were of the view that the traffic circles would not be required if the median was constructed.

In response to questions, Mrs. North stated that a majority of the Fairfax Crescent and Fairfax Place residents did not want the traffic calming measures put into place. She expressed concern about the danger which residents would face when having to make left turns around the traffic circles and suggested that the mile length of Seafair Drive did not warrant the implementation of these measures. Mrs. North stated that the traffic survey indicated that 52% of the motorists were travelling under 50 kilometres per hour, and residents were therefore questioning the need for the traffic circles.

Mr. Jim Ellis, of 8500 Seafair Drive, indicated support for the traffic circles. He stated that while he was not aware of the speed of motorists using Seafair Drive, he had observed many vehicles travelling much too fast. He suggested that the current situation would only become worse with the completion of the proposed townhouse development. Mr. Ellis stated that he believed the developer and the residents were of the view that the solution being offered was the best one available.

Mr. Jay Gillis, of 8751 Seafair Drive, suggested that the calm atmosphere of Fairfax Place and Crescent was not the same on Seafair Drive, and he provided information on the number of motorists whom he had observed speeding along Seafair Drive. He stated that anything which could be done to prevent motorists from speeding would be supported by the residents of Seafair Drive. Mr. Gillis added that with the addition of the townhouse complex to the area, 200 more vehicles could be accessing Seafair Drive from Francis Road, and he voiced the opinion that it would be absurd not to consider the installation of traffic calming devices on Seafair Drive.

Ms. Fern Keene, of 8591 Seafair Drive, expressed support for the installation of traffic circles on Seafair Drive and the median on Francis Road. She indicated that she was not aware of how many people had complained about motorists speeding on Seafair Drive, but everyone she had spoken to were in favour of the installation of the traffic circles.

Ray Mew, of 8231 Seafair Drive, spoke about the increase in traffic along Seafair Drive during the 11 years which he had resided at this address, and the change in neighbourhood demographics which had resulted in an increase in the number of young adults driving faster vehicles. He noted that Blundell Road would not have a median and that motorists would still be able to access Seafair Drive from that road and he suggested that the traffic problems would continue if the traffic circles were not installed. Mr. Mew also suggested that while motorists would have to take greater care when making left hand turns around the traffic circles, oncoming traffic would be forced to slow down and the risk of being in an accident would also be reduced.

In response to questions, he stated that the speed and volume of traffic on Seafair Drive was what one would normally expect on Blundell Road.

Mr. Bruce McDonald, of 8531 Seafair Drive, expressed support for the proposed traffic circles, and indicated that he had observed many motor vehicle accidents occurring on the street. With reference to comments made about the use of stop signs and yield signs, Mr. McDonald advised that there was a yield sign at the intersection of Seafair Drive and Fairbrook Crescent, and there had been many times when he had almost collided with drivers exiting that street because they fail to yield the right-of-way.

He also noted that motorists exiting Seafair Drive also did not stop at the stop sign at Blundell Road because they knew that Blundell Road ‘deadended’ west of Seafair Drive.

It was moved and seconded


That the proposed traffic calming measures on Seafair Drive at Fairbrook Crescent, Fairfax Place, and Fairfax Crescent (south), (as described in the report dated August 25th, 2000, from the Manager of Transportation), be implemented prior to the start of construction of the housing development by Richmond Estates Limited at 3100 Francis Road (DP 98-138455), at the cost of the developer.


That staff monitor the traffic conditions on Seafair Drive for one year upon completion of the proposed traffic calming measures and report to Council on the effectiveness of the implemented devices.




(Report: Aug. 31/00, File No.: 6450-09) (REDMS No. 180818)

Mr. Chan reviewed the report and recommendations with Committee members.

It was moved and seconded


That the following initiatives be endorsed as part of the City’s continuing effort of enhancing school zone traffic safety through the application of various engineering, enforcement, and educational measures:


That staff continue to work with other road safety and enforcement agencies, educational institutions and other stakeholders to pursue innovative means of enhancing school zone traffic safety.


That the second edition of the "Traffic Safety Around Schools and Playgrounds" brochure (attached to the report dated August 31st, 2000, from the Manager, Transportation) be endorsed as a traffic safety educational tool; that the brochure be shared with other municipal jurisdictions upon request to broaden the school zone traffic safety enhancement efforts; and that the financial contributions and support of the ICBC RoadSense Team in the production of the brochure be officially acknowledged by Council.


That staff pursue a funding partnership with ICBC in upgrading the existing inventory of blue pentagon school zone signs to the new standard of high visibility (neon yellow-green) advance school zone signs.


That the City continue to work with the "Way to Go" Program to encourage travel to school by alternative modes of transportation and reduce the number of vehicle trips to schools.


That the co-ordinated efforts and support of ICBC, the Richmond School District, the Richmond District Parents Association, the "Way to Go!" Program, the RCMP, Richmond Bylaw Enforcement, and Richmond Fire and Rescue, and in particular the financial contribution of ICBC towards implementing various local traffic safety initiatives be formally acknowledged by Council.

Prior to the question being called, questions were raised by the Mayor about the feasibility of producing the brochure in Chinese. He suggested that many of the traffic problems which occur in front of schools were caused by parents intent on dropping their children off at school. The Mayor suggested that perhaps the Committee could consider this proposal.

The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.



(Report: Sept. 21/00, File No.: 6480-01) (REDMS No. 185976)

Mr. Chan briefly reviewed the report with Committee members.

It was moved and seconded

That the use of Garden City Road (Granville Avenue to Cook Road) for new bus service as part of the TransLink 2000 Program Plan Service Changes commencing on December 11, 2000, be endorsed.

Prior to the question on the motion being called, Mr. Chan provided information on the location of bus stops in this area of Garden City Road. He also advised that the current project to construct a sidewalk along the west side of Garden City Road, from Westminster Highway to Cook Road, was being considered for extension around the curve, to connect with Granville Avenue.

The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.



The Vice Chair advised that reports from the Managers would be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee.

Councillor McNulty commented on the use of ‘yield’ signs rather than ‘stop signs’ in some areas of the City, and expressed concern about the attitude of motorists that ‘yield’ meant to continue on through an intersection without checking for traffic. He added that it was possible that the Committee could be confronted with delegations on this matter.

Councillor McNulty also referred to the intersection of Moffatt Road and Blundell Road, and noted that he had received a number of requests for a pedestrian activated traffic signal at that location. The Mayor commented that the intersection of Blundell Road and Minoru Boulevard was another area of concern, and the suggestion was made by Cllr. McNulty that these two intersections should be monitored. In response, Mr. Chan advised that he understood that both intersections were scheduled to be upgraded, however, he would pursue the matter with staff to determine if this was correct.

Mayor Halsey-Brandt expressed concern that the 61 property owners whose illegal ditch infill work was being investigated as a result of the complaint made by Mr. Pona, could all appear before the Committee and Council to appeal the notice issued by staff to restore a ditch to its original form. He questioned how this issue could be addressed, and discussion ensued among Committee members and staff on how to make it clear to property owners that Council did not intend to allow any appeals with respect to the City’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

During the discussion, concern was expressed about (i) the lack of communication to the public regarding the fact that property owners were required to obtain the appropriate permit to infill City ditches, and (ii) the lack of brochures on display at the ‘Front of House’ on this matter. Advice was given by Mr. Ono that the situation regarding the lack of information at the Information Counter would be addressed. The suggestion was also made that advertisements should be placed in the local newspapers to remind the public about the City’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.


It was moved and seconded

That the meeting adjourn (5:30 p.m.).




Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Public Works & Transportation Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Wednesday, October 4th 2000.



Councillor Ken Johnston

Vice Chair

Fran J. Ashton

Executive Assistant