Dangerous River Road intersection will soon be replaced with a roundabout, extending well beyond the current fence line. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Dangerous River Road intersection will soon be replaced with a roundabout, extending well beyond the current fence line. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Corridor plan had time for input

Chemainus Road businesses and residents should have been kept up to speed ahead of unveiling

A little consideration goes a long way.

North Cowichan’s Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade project has been in the works for many years, since the Chemainus Revitalization Plan of 2011 was unveiled, in fact.

There’s been plenty of time over the course of eight years to make sure all aspects of the project’s goals, requirements and long-term aspirations were addressed.

But North Cowichan dropped the ball somewhat by having a meeting to reveal the details, with suddenly precious little time before construction is due to begin in September.

It would have been easy to consult with Chemainus Road businesses and homeowners in the affected area to gain some insight into their visions for the corridor. There are only a few of them so it wouldn’t have taken a huge effort to bring them up to speed, gauge their response and make any adjustments as necessary.

You usually only have one chance to get it right. If mistakes are discovered later that require changes, it becomes very costly to fix them and they likely wouldn’t be done.

The Chemainus Road corridor that provides the entrance into a tourist town is not attractive. This project will make it more appealing and leave a better impression on visitors.

But it’s the finer details – the parking spaces, the landscaping, etc. that make all the difference. The business owners along the route also need to be assured of certain things to protect their investments. That’s not asking too much.

There are many components to this project that go beyond the physical work. We don’t know details of a land acquisition required to accommodate a River Road roundabout.

It would be pertinent for North Cowichan to reveal the true cost of the deal to avoid speculation and suspicion about some kind of trade-off in order to acquire the property.

Many of the project’s elements in the works look great, but there are still issues. The blue building still exists in the corridor and that’s going to look especially horrific without a major overhaul in keeping with the rest of the block.

And parking conflicting with bike lanes seems to be rampant everywhere these days. It will be no different here and may require at least some minor modifications to the plan to satisfy all needs.