Ladysmith town council accepted a bus stop location on First Ave., next to the Tim Horton’s drive-through exit and Bob Stuart Park, which was proposed by BC Transit as the only viable option for the Nanaimo – Cowichan express route.
Town staff tried to find an alternative location to prevent an increase in congestion in the area, but said BC Transit and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) would only settle for the First Ave. location, due to its access on and off the highway in both directions.
The bus will exit the highway at the stoplights and use the roundabout to turn around before picking up passengers, according to a town staff report. It will make seven round trips per day with 14 stops between the communities.
Councillors expressed concern the bus could be delayed due to existing congestion in the roundabout.
“I am challenged by this being the most viable location,” said Mayor Aaron Stone. “We are ignoring the reality of that traffic circle if we expect that to be the fastest way on and off the highway.”
Stone and councillors said they believe there are other options. After a lengthy discussion, he suggested council agree on the location, with reservations. Not settling and compromising with BC Transit could have led to the town missing out on the service, according to a town staff report.
BC Transit said it will monitor the bus stop and may have to make changes to scheduling and potentially location in the future. A future roundabout at Ludlow and Rocky Creek may be an option if there are conflicts at the First Ave. location, according to the staff report.