The City of Nanaimo will buy a Rutherford-Road property, as it paves the way for new access into the Linley Valley West.
City politicians approved a $3-million link between Linley Valley Drive and Rutherford Road Dec. 7, after survey results showed it’s the favoured option for access into the Linley Valley West neighbourhood.
There have been big changes since the municipality first envisioned a major east-west connector through the valley, including the city purchase of parkland last year that prevents a road from going any further than the new subdivision. The park also reduces the future population of the valley, a staff report shows.
While a road and intersection made sense within a larger network, at a cost of $5.6 million, it’s fairly expensive when it only provides access to the subdivision, according to Dale Lindsay, city director of community development, who says staff members worked with council to try to find more affordable and efficient access.
Politicians unanimously chose to carve out access linking Linley Valley Drive and Rutherford Road, across from Nelson Road, purchase land and create a new roundabout, at a total cost of $3 million. The project will amount to an estimated $2.2 million for the city, with the remaining dollars coming from developers and reserve funds.
The alternative was to use an existing network of roads in the area and install new traffic signals for $500,000, largely paid for by developers.
Coun. Ian Thorpe called the new access to Rutherford Road a far better option, with much more direct and safer access in and out of the area.
“It will be constructed as a roadway to handle the volume of traffic going in and out as opposed to the existing streets that are already there, which weren’t really designed to carry a heavier volume of traffic and a much more circuitous route,” he said, adding it’s a natural hook up between Linley Valley Drive and Rutherford and Nelson roads. “It looks nice, quick and simple.”
Acting Mayor Bill Bestwick was swayed to go with the route by public opinion, developers’ contribution to the roundabout and the need for alternative access and egress for a growing Linley Valley neighborhood.
“It just kind of made sense,” he said.
Public consultation took place in October, with more than 300 people attending an open house and upwards of 400 survey responses. Surveys showed 80 per cent of respondents favoured the new link, while 71 per cent were against using existing roadways, with concerns of increased traffic and driving times for residents and emergency services.
City staff members intend to close on the purchase of 5290 Rutherford Rd., valued at $850,000, by the end of the year to allow for the new link. City councillors have also asked staff members for design drawings and the cost of a roundabout and roadworks for the new intersection. An update on cost and timing options will be brought forward for the 2017 financial plan.