Letter re: Connecting Spruce and Church story in Feb. 17 Sounder

Wednesday, February 25 2015

As a resident on Spruce Avenue I am absolutely against construction of an open road from Church to Spruce. Apart from the fact that involvement of developers in these matters can be a conflict of interest, connecting Church to Spruce would create a freeway through our very quiet neighbourhood. Every driver from the village or the rest of the island wanting to get to Berry Point Road would roar along the paved part of Spruce past our front doors. Think of all the north end residents that would travel through here to get to the village and beyond. If a bridge was built you might as while put in a 4 lane highway here for every tourist who visits Vancouver Island and every VI resident going on a Gulf Island excursion. Spruce is not a major island access road like North or South Road, nor I suspect was it ever intended to be. Property values would plummet below already very low levels. We invested out life savings here because it is a nice super-quiet neighbourhood. And we all manage just fine with driving the other way to the village (and many of us walk or cycle the trails to our destinations).

While I appreciate the concern around emergency access I have always been so impressed at the speed with which Ambulances and Fire Trucks get here (11 minutes is amazing), especially in relation to normal city access times. And I have had to rely on these services on more than one frightening occasion myself. Our island crews already do a fantastic job in servicing our island. Should a Spruce Church link proceed strictly for emergency use (not for convenience use), there needs to be a locked gate that can be opened only by emergency crews. It should not be a public access route. I call on Islands Trust, our Fire Chief and the Fire Board to protect our neighbourhoods while providing the wonderful emergency service that we consistently receive.

~ Karen Hodgson