A traffic light in the Dogwood dip and a new road connecting the Colonia Drive neighbourhood to the Davis Road neighbourhood via a new Holland Creek bridge.
Each will likely be part of the future of Ladysmith, it’s just a question of when.
With recently approved rezoning changes tentatively clearing the way for more than 600 new homes in the Holland Creek area, and other developments on tap in that area that could increase the town’s population by up to 3,000 people, transportation is a key question facing city planners.
The answers are contained in the Holland Creek Local Area plan, a document first prepared in 2000 and updated as recently as this summer.
First and foremost, fire protection standards call for a development of this size to be serviced by at least three major arteries by the time it is built out.
The initial planned access is slated for the Dogwood dip, south of the existing Holland Creek bridge. It will be installed in the gap between the Holland Creek Trail parking lot and the nearest southbound home.
A second access will be needed by the time development in the area expands to 600 units. That access will be created by extending the initial access road from Dogwood northwest through the entire Holland Creek development area. It will curl below the Arbutus Hump, and connect to the existing Colonia Drive via a new bridge over Holland Creek.
The plan makes reference to the bridge blending into the forest with minimal impact on Holland Creek and its surrounding trail system.
The final planned connector will come from the southwest, via an extension from Thetis Drive. It will become necessary when the development reaches 900 homes.
The Dogwood access will very quickly need a designated left-turn land and eventually Ladysmith’s first non-Highway traffic light should the development reach maximum growth and traffic distribution expectations.
A roundabout may be a feasible alternative at that location, but grade issues may make that option impractical.
“Infrastructure for a new neighbourhood is typically the cost of the developer,” said Ladysmith director of development services Felicity Adams.
A business partnership involving the Stz’uminas First Nation was recently granted a rezoning to develop the southern half of the Holland Creek development area. They plan to build a mix of mostly single- and multi-family homes, with initial site work preparation slated to get underway Sept. 2 and continue for the next 20 or 30 years. The rest of the site is divided into two other parcels suitable for similar developments. The owner of one of those parcels — already zoned for single family housing — has submitted an application for subdivision approval.
A large portion of all three parcels are slated to be dedicated as green space, including the area’s highest point, Arbutus Hump.
Traffic leaving the site for the highway will be diverted along the town’s existing main traffic corridors: Malone/Roberts, Dunsmuir/Symonds and Dogwood/Davis.
According to a study done in July 2015 by Boulevard Transportation, Dogwood Drive currently sees about 3,600 vehicles a day. Malone Road sees about 1,800 and Dunsmuir about 600.