The recommendation to reopen Dutch Point Road to the public for vehicles including trailers and snowmobiles was approved at Tuesday’s 1st Regular City Council meeting under Mayor Walt Cobb.
Councillor Jason Ryll says he had some difficulty in throwing his support behind the recommendation that was fully endorsed by Councillors Scott Nelson and Craig Smith.
“I’m very concerned about what the homeowners that are in the area have to say.”
“Yes, safety is definitely a concern, but I can’t help but think that if we close one access, we’re just forcing people to improvise and use somewhere else. That’s not safe for anyone.”
Councillor Scott Nelson meanwhile said he fully supported the decision as having vehicular access closed on Dutch Point Road is not representational of the community and pointed out that a single accident has not occurred in the area for 35 years.
Councillor Ivan Bonnell who was opposed, and supported the recommendation to close the access under Mayor Kerry, had this to say when the meeting wrapped up.
“The rationale for rescinding the resolution had no subsistence to it in my mind in consideration of all the discussion that was done in the last 6 months.”
“This was simply an electoral promise that was being divvied out the newer members of Council.”
Councilors Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias, who also served under Cook remained opposed and both cited safety concerns.
According to Councillor Craig Smith, however, Bonnell, Walters, and Zacharias cannot be said to be supporting the closure in favor of safety due to decisions that were made on previous recommendations.
Mayor Walt Cobb, who broke the tie, said he would consider re-closing the boat access when another access would be available and remarked that as he too made a campaign promise, the re-opening was something he had to support.
Williams Lake Fire Chief Des Webster says the concern he has of emergency vehicles getting through the area continues.
“We can’t have our access being limited or impeded in any way.”
“Although there are only 4 residences down there, they’re still entitled to unimpeded fire protection.”
“Unless the parking is addressed down there will continue to have a safety issue.”
Mayor Walt Cobb meanwhile says the concerns of emergency vehicles not being able to get down on Dutch Point Road, that has been lined on both sides with trucks and boat trailers during the summer, is simply an excuse that is not legitimate when it comes to having the access closed.
The next Regular City Council Meeting in Williams Lake will not take place until January.