Public Works & Transporation Committee Meeting Minutes - March 20, 2002



Public Works & Transportation Committee



Wednesday, March 20th, 2002


Anderson Room
Richmond City Hall


Councillor Lyn Greenhill, Chair
Councillor Kiichi Kumagai, Vice-Chair
Councillor Rob Howard


Councillor Linda Barnes
Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.








It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the Public Works & Transportation Committee held on Wednesday, March 6th, 2002, be adopted as circulated.












(Report: Mar. 6/02, File No.: 6360-06) (REDMS No. 622998) (Delegations: Bill Zylmans, Richmond Farmers Institute; Ron Emerson, Emerson Real Estate Group)



Transportation Engineer Jim Hnatiuk reviewed the proposed closure of No. 8 Road with the Committee, and used display boards and maps to further explain the proposed closure and future road improvements, and the area farms which would be affected by this closure. Reference was also made to two letters received from Emerson Real Estate Group (dated March 18th, 2002), regarding (i) the proposed closure of No. 8 Road, south of Westminster Highway, and (ii) TransLink service to Kingswood Industrial Park. Copies of the correspondence is attached as Schedule A and forms part of these minutes.



Discussion ensued among Committee members and staff on the proposed closure, during which the following information was provided in response to questions:




the construction of the new Blundell Road (Phase 1) in the Fall of 2002 was connected with the initial development now taking place in the area




Blundell Road would ultimately be constructed to four lanes, however, only the northern two lanes were proposed for construction at this time




traffic volumes for Westminster Highway had been reviewed at the time the development applications were submitted to the City, however, it was assumed that a majority of the traffic would be using Nelson Road as access to Westminster Highway and that diversion had been accounted for in the traffic review




the improvements being proposed for the Nelson Road/Westminster Highway intersection were a direct result of the increased traffic anticipated for that area as a result of the diversion of traffic from No. 8 Road




No. 8 Road was currently open to traffic




the connection of Blundell Road to Highway 99 was the final phase of development, however, at this point in time, construction, if at all, was anticipated to be ten years in the future.



Mr. Bill Zylmans, of W & A Farms, 17771 Westminster Highway, stated that he farmed land on both sides of No. 8 Road, including eastward to Nelson Road, south of Westminster Highway, and that traffic was a major issue for him. He referred to the map on display and questioned whether the circle at the point where No. 8 Road was proposed to be closed denoted a turn-around area. Advice was given that such a traffic device was not being proposed at this time as part of the proposed development.



Mr. Zylmans added that he had not had the opportunity to review the staff report, and suggested that the report be referred to the Farmers Institute for review.



Mr. Bill Jones, the owner of Jones Nursery on Westminster Highway, as well as property in the area of No. 7 Road and Westminster Highway, stated that the proposed closure of No. 8 Road would have major ramifications for area farmers, and agreed that the report should be referred to the Farmers Institute.



Mr. Jones spoke about the changes taking place with current traffic patterns along Westminster Highway, i.e. an increase in both speed and the number of large, heavily loaded vehicles using this road, and the resulting hazardous conditions for slow moving farm vehicles. He noted that sometime ago, a suggestion had been made that a flashing green light be installed at No. 8 Road and Westminster Highway as a means of slowing traffic, and Mr. Jones asked that that suggestion be considered further. He also commented that the extension of Blundell Road should be completed sooner rather than later.



In response to the concerns voiced by the previous speakers, the Director of Transportation, Gordon Chan, agreed that the volume of traffic in the area would only increase due to the new development. However, he stated that allowing No. 8 Road to remain open could have a negative impact on the City's efforts to have Blundell Road extended westward to Highway 99. He added that a traffic study had recently been completed for the road network for south-east Richmond, which emphasized the need for improvements to the Steveston Highway and Blundell Road/Highway 99 interchanges.



Mr. Ron Emerson, of Emerson Real Estate Group, and project manager for the Kingswood Industrial Park, provided information on the acreage involved in the development, and the funds being provided through Development Cost Charges to install a sanitary sewer system for the project, and to construct Phase 1 of the Blundell Road extension.



With reference to the proposed closure of No. 8 Road, Mr. Emerson stated that based on a traffic report commissioned by Fraser Port, he had been advised that No. 8 Road would remain open for an interim period to provide access to the Kingswood Industrial Park, because Nelson Road was mainly used by Lafarge Cement. He also referred to conversations which he had had with TransLink about the feasibility of providing transit to the area, which could be contingent upon No. 8 Road remaining open. Mr. Emerson stated that instead of diverting traffic to Nelson Road, No. 8 Road should remain open until such time as some of the traffic could be diverted west.



In answer to the comments of Mr. Emerson, Mr. Chan spoke about the consultants traffic report, stating that it was his view that No. 8 Road would not be able to withstand the anticipated increased volume of traffic resulting from the development. He advised that for that reason, the traffic consultants and Fraser Port had been advised that staff would be recommending that No. 8 Road be closed. Mr. Chan also responded to the suggestion that TransLink could provide transit service to the area, indicating that he had not been advised of any expansion to the current transit service for the area.



Discussion then ensued among Committee members, staff and Mr. Emerson on the proposed development, during which the following information was provided:




Phase 1 of the extension of Blundell Road to the east would be completed by September of this year as part of the Kingswood Industrial Park development




the occupancy of the new buildings was connected with the completion of construction of the No. 8 Road and Blundell Road (Phase 1) extensions.



Mr. Emerson commented during the discussion that it was his belief that No. 8 Road was in better condition that Nelson Road at the present time because Nelson Road had been subject to a great deal of truck traffic during the past year.



Mr. Emerson also expressed the belief that it would be better to have two access and egress points to accommodate the large number of employees who would be working in the most northerly located building. He stated that allowing No. 8 Road to remain open would provide better access for these employees than Nelson Road, and he questioned whether traffic on No. 8 Road could be restricted to cars and other light weight vehicles.



During the discussion, in response to questions, staff provided information on the proposed traffic improvements which would be made in the area of Nelson Road and Blundell Road (Phase 1 extension). Information was also provided by Mr. Emerson on proposed drainage improvements. Also addressed was the issue of funding for the City's portion of the reconstruction of Nelson Road and whether this project should be in the current Five Year Capital Plan.



The comment was made by Cllr. Kumagai during the discussion that the most important aspect of the project was the proposed extension of Blundell Road west to Highway 99, and he asked that staff provide a report to Committee on the timing of the project. He also expressed agreement that the report now being considered should be referred to the Farmers Institute for review, and suggested that the Farmers Institute also consider the suggestion of Mr. Emerson that No. 8 Road be restricted to light weight vehicles.



Mr. Chan, with reference to the feasibility of implementing weight restrictions on No. 8 Road, advised that there were no effective ways to enforce load limits and that these restrictions would require the full services of the RCMP. He also provided information on meetings which were being held regarding the possible extension of Blundell Road west to Highway 99. Mr. Chan further advised that he supported the referral of the report to the Farmers Institute, but voiced the opinion that the Westminster Highway traffic problems were a separate issue. He added that staff could report to Committee in the future on the outcome of the meetings with the stakeholders on the extension of Blundell Road west.



As a result of the discussion, the following referral motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That the report (dated March 6th, 2002, from the Director, Transportation), regarding the Proposed Closure of No. 8 Road at the Granville Avenue Right-of-Way, be referred to staff for referral to the Farmers Institute, and report to the April 4th, 2002 meeting of the Public Works & Transportation Committee.












(Report: Mar. 1/02, File No.: 6340-01) (REDMS No. 612441)



It was moved and seconded



That City forces be authorized to construct the 2002 Capital Projects listed in Appendix A (attached to the report dated March 1, 2002, from the Director, Engineering).













The Acting Director, Public Works, Dave Semple, advised that because of recent heavy snowfalls, the City's budget for snow removal for 2002 had already been exceeded and that an additional expenditure of approximately $62,000 was being anticipated for the remainder of the year.




The Manager, Transportation Planning, Victor Wei, provided an update on the installation of the Pacemore walkway, reporting that the cost of the project was now estimated to be $75,000 and not $45,000 as indicated in the staff report. He stated that the 2001 Neighbourhood Traffic Safety Program had sufficient funds to accommodate the increased cost. Mr. Wei added that the increased cost would not have an impact on the recommendation adopted by Council as the cost had not been included in that recommendation.




Cllr. Kumagai referred to a comment made at the March 18th, 2002 Public Hearing about a pilot project to introduce traffic calming measures in laneways, and he requested that staff report to Committee on this matter. In response, Mr. Chan provided information on the pilot projects which had been initiated in the laneway in the 5500 block of Minoru Boulevard and the laneway in the 9000 block No. 1 Road. He noted that a request had been submitted for additional speed humps in the lane to further deter speeding motorists.




Mr. Chan reported to the Committee on arrangements which were being made with TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company to provide a special transit service to Steveston during the upcoming Tall Ships event. He stated that a report would soon be submitted to the Committee to provide details of the four proposed routes.




A brief discussion ensued on any financial costs which might be incurred, and whether an application could be made to the Western Diversification Fund for a matching grant. Mr. Chan indicated that he would review the matter with the General Manager, Finance & Corporate Services, Mr. Jim Bruce.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (4:55 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, March 20th, 2002.



Councillor Lyn Greenhill

Fran J. Ashton
Executive Assistant