Public Works & Transporation Committee Meeting Minutes - April 4, 2002



Public Works & Transportation Committee



Thursday, April 4th, 2002


Anderson Room
Richmond City Hall


Councillor Lyn Greenhill, Chair
Councillor Linda Barnes
Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt
Councillor Rob Howard (4:17 p.m.)


Councillor Kiichi Kumagai, Vice-Chair

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:12 p.m.









It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the Public Works & Transportation Committee held on Wednesday, March 20th, 2002, be adopted as circulated.











(Report:  Mar. 28/02, File No.:  6360-06) (REDMS No. 675619) 



Transportation Engineer Jim Hnatiuk, accompanied by the Director of Transportation, Gordon Chan, reviewed the report with the Committee.  He also referred to correspondence which had been received from Bontebok Holdings Ltd., which indicated their opposition to the proposal to close No. 8 Road, and from TransLink, regarding the provision of transit service to the No. 8 Road/Nelson Road area.  A copy of each of the letters is attached as Schedules A and B respectively, and form part of these minutes.



Mr. Bruce May. accompanied by Mr. Todd May, representing the Richmond Farmers Institute, expressed the belief that the increased traffic would add to the pressure currently being experienced by the agricultural industry in the area.  He noted that it was very difficult for farmers, on slow moving equipment, to cross Westminster Highway at No. 8 Road, and asked that in addition to the closure of No. 8 Road, which the Institute supported, that a pedestrian activated light be installed at the Westminster Highway/No. 8 Road intersection, to provide safe passage for farmers and school children wanting to cross Westminster Highway at this point.



Mr. May referred to the proposal to extend Blundell Road west to Highway 99, and asked that this project be given a high priority as he felt that Westminster Highway would be unable to accommodate the increased traffic.



Mr. Ron Emerson, of Emerson Real Estate Group, and Project Manager for the Kingswood Industrial Park, stated that when his company entered into an agreement with The Bay for the construction of offices and a warehouse at the south end of No. 8 Road, the drawings indicated that No. 8 Road was a through road.  He further stated that closure of the road would result in problems for The Bay and his company, and he spoke about the beliefs of his tenants, based on development plans, that there would be two access points in the area, and about the difficulties in attracting future tenants if there was only one access point provided.



Mr. Emerson advised that he had spoken to Mr. Bill Zylmans, who indicated that he was concerned about his ability to cross Westminster Highway.  He stated that the focus should be on getting Blundell Road extended to Highway 99, and noted that steps were being taken in an effort to achieve that goal.  In closing, he indicated that the closure of No. 8 Road would have a negative impact on his development.



In response to questions, Mr. Emerson advised that:




his firm was made aware of the proposal to close No. 8 Road in October of 2001, after the completion of the construction agreement with The Bay




the traffic report commissioned by Fraser Port had indicated that No. 8 Road would probably remain a rural road, but there was no discussion about closure and no discussions with City staff about this proposal




the servicing report had been completed in July, and that report indicated that No. 8 Road would remain a rural road




The Bay offices face northward; truck traffic would exit on Blundell Road (Phase 1 extension) and use Nelson Road to access Westminster Highway




office parking for The Bay was located at the north end of the property at No. 8 Road




his company had concerns about fire protection and access for emergency vehicles if No. 8 Road was closed (advice was given at this point that emergency access only would be provided from No. 8 Road).



Mr. Al Mitten, representing Fraser Port, acknowledged that the servicing report indicated that No. 8 Road would be closed but a subsequent report indicated that both No. 8 Road and Triangle Road would be closed.  He stated that in the long term, the closure of No. 8 Road and Triangle Road might be in the best interest of the City, but only after the extension of Blundell Road as a major route was completed.  He further stated that in the interim, approximately 900 acres of industrial land would be relying on access from Nelson Road which could result in a bottleneck as a result of the number of industrial businesses and employees anticipated for the area. 



Mr. Mitten suggested that the proposed closure of No. 8 Road should be reviewed, with a view to keeping the road open until Blundell Road was extended west to Highway 99.  He stated that Westminster Highway via No. 8 Road provided a direct link to the industrial park, and while he appreciated the concerns of the farmers, he noted that No. 8 Road was the only access at the present time.  Mr. Mitten suggested that a trucker coming to the area would look at a map and find No. 8 Road, however, confusion could result if the trucker, when driving along Westminster Highway searching for No. 8 Road, was unable to access the road.  He also suggested that TransLink would find it inconvenient to use Nelson Road to provide transit service to the area.  He further advised that the street addresses for the industrial park had already been designated as being No. 8 Road.



(Councillor Howard entered the meeting at 4:17 p.m.)



Discussion ensued among Committee members, the delegation and staff on:




whether signs posted along Westminster Highway to indicate the closure of No. 8 Road would help to address the problems




the timing of the project to extend Blundell Road westward to connect with Highway 99




whether No. 8 Road would be able to withstand the increased truck traffic, and the cost to the City of maintaining No. 8 Road if the road remained open; and the impact which the continued use and maintenance of No. 8 Road could have on the proposal to extend Blundell Road west to Highway 99




the feasibility of changing the addresses for the industrial park to Blundell Road, even though some of the buildings had already been constructed.



Mr. Joseph Brosch, also representing Fraser Port, spoke on the property address issue, noting that there were a number of tenants within the industrial park who wished to maintain their No. 8 Road address.  He also commented on the condition of No. 8 Road, stating that the road was currently being used by trucks and was withstanding deterioration well.  Mr. Brosch stated that area farmers would be impacted by the traffic from the industrial park development even if No. 8 Road was closed or open. 



In response to questions, Mr. Brosch stated that perhaps a right-in, right-out system at the No. 8 Road/Westminster Highway intersection might be a solution, which would then eliminate the need for improvements to the intersection.  He also advised that new tenants for the industrial park were being advised that there was a possibility that No. 8 Road would be closed to access.



Mr. Steve Ajula, of Fraser Richmond Biocycle, expressed concern about the impact which the closure of No. 8 Road would have on his business with respect to an increase in (i) the amount of time truckers would have to wait to exit the property; (ii) air pollution from trucks idling as the drivers waited to exit, and (iii) costs.  He also stated that the condition of No. 8 Road was far superior to Nelson Road, and that in the past, No. 8 Road had been used to provide access to the former garbage dump.



Mr. May interjected at this point, and advised that Triangle Road had always been used to access the garbage dump and not No. 8 Road.  In response to questions, Mr. May advised that the Richmond Farmers Institute was concerned that No. 8 Road would remain open.  He stated that the intersection was not designed to handle the anticipated volume of traffic, which would add additional pressure to the area.  Mr. May further stated that now was the time to make a decision on whether the agricultural industry in Richmond would continue to be supported. 



It was moved and seconded



( 1 )

That the proposed permanent closure of No. 8 Road at the Granville Avenue road right-of-way for all traffic except emergency vehicles, be endorsed.



( 2 )

That staff continue to work with all landowners, business operators, area farmers and residents to ensure reasonable alternative access for Fraser Port Lands is provided while respecting the intent and direction of the Official Community Plan, the City's long term road network expansion strategies, and related City policies.



The question on the motion was not called, as Committee members expressed their support for the proposed recommendation, noting that allowing No. 8 Road to remain open would have a negative impact on the agricultural industry in the area. 



During the discussion which took place, staff were urged to work with the developers of the industrial park to ensure that the appropriate signage was erected to advise of the closure.



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



A question was raised about whether consideration would be given to the installation of a pedestrian-activated signal at Westminster Highway and No. 8 Road.  Staff responded that the proposal would be reviewed.



The Chair advised that the report would be going forward for adoption to the April 8th, 2002 Regular Council Meeting and that the delegations who spoke on the matter would have an opportunity at that time to address Council on the matter. 




(Report:  Mar. 19/02, File No.:  6480-01) (REDMS No. 666126)



Transportation Planner Joan Caravan briefly reviewed the proposed transit services with the Committee.  In response to questions, she advised that the cost of providing this special service would be absorbed by TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Ltd. as part of the normal service delivery.



It was moved and seconded



( 1 )

That the conceptual special transit services to support the Richmond Tall Ships 2002 event, be endorsed in principle.



( 2 )

That staff continue to work with TransLink, Coast Mountain Bus Company and the Richmond Tall Ships 2002 Committee to refine the transit plan.



( 3 )

That staff report to Committee on a comprehensive Richmond Tall Ships 2002 Transportation Plan, including transit services and traffic and parking management.











Mr. Chan referred to the City's recent submission to TransLink for funding of improvements to Richmond's portion of the Major Road Network, and reported that of the $1.5 Million requested, the City had been given approval for $1.1 Million, with consideration being given to an additional four projects.




On a different topic, Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt referred to the new express transit route which had been implemented northbound on Oak Street, and questioned whether a decision had been made to provide southbound service along the same route.  Mr. Chan responded that the provision of peak hour service was being reviewed, and that TransLink was monitoring demand and ridership on the Oak Street route.  He added that the earliest in which a southbound route could be established, if such was approved, would be September of this year.  He also noted that at the present time, there was a lack of available buses to accommodate a southbound route. 




Cllr. Halsey-Brandt expressed concern that ridership figures would not provide a true picture of the demand for the route because if passengers (i.e. medical staff) were unable to return to Richmond by bus, they would not be using transit to reach their destinations (hospitals).  She urged staff to continue their efforts with TransLink to implement a southbound route on Oak Street as quickly as possible.




Reference was made by Councillor Barnes to the provision of late evening service for Handy Dart, and advice was given by Mr. Chan that overall improvements were being made to the provision of this service, and that a commitment had been made to improve service to Richmond. 




Mr. Chan indicated that he did not have the most current information on the improvements which were being made to the Handy Dart system, and advised that he would pursue the matter with TransLink and provide a memorandum to Committee members on the status of the Handy Dart improvements.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (4:52 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 Thursday, April 4th, 2002



Councillor Lyn Greenhill

Fran J. Ashton
Executive Assistant