Just one tree


Tuesday, January 2 2018

Amazing what one tree can do.

Critics observances to the contrary, the tree which blocked off Taylor Bay Road this past Friday, December 30 till the following morning was not a little tree either. As can be attested to those resourceful islanders who stopped by on Saturday and Sunday to slice off a few feet of unseasoned firewood.

But had someone intended to block off vehicle access to the entire north-east end of Gabriola, few spots work better than between Ivory and McConvey.

The power outage was secondary. A power outage for Gabriolans is a normal part of life on the island.

But having the road closed meant everyone who had gone out to the Surf Lodge and the performance at The Roxy that night could not get home after 7:30pm. More than a few residents opened their doors to guests for the evening.

It also meant emergency services (fire, RCMP, and ambulance) were not going to be able to respond if called upon in that area. Thankfully, that night, their services were not required.

When the GERTIE Community Bus initiative was getting going, those working on it did a study to see where on the island Gabriolans lived. It remains the only study looking at how the Gabriola population is dispersed around the island.

The study showed 25% of the island population lived down Taylor Bay, and out on Berry Point Road and up in Phase 4.

As of press time, there was still no answer from BC Hydro on why opening that road was not seen as a clear priority for their crews.

Beyond the immediate implications of Friday night, having the road cut off demonstrated how easy it would be to block access to that part of the island, and how much the connection between Spruce Ave and Church Street is needed.

All other parts of the so-called Potlatch application aside, having that second connection will make a difference - and no, it should not just be for emergency services. 

On Friday there were parents who were not able to either get home to children; or to get out to pick up their children from evening activities/the ferry because of that tree.

The Potlatch proposal has gotten Ministerial approval. It is supposed to come before the Local Trust Committee in March. There is still no guarantee that Trustees will pass it.

There’s also no clear timeline on when a connecting road will actually go from Church to Spruce.

The community will need to work with the developer to ensure that if a road is going in there, that happens sooner, rather than later.