Ash Road residents Dennis Thompson and Gerry Tearoe discuss traffic along the road with Sgt. Alan Kurzinski of Saanich Police. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich man’s concern for Ash Road safety draws police response

Resident attempting to slow down traffic on road where girl was critically injured

A Saanich man concerned about speeding near the site of a collision that has left a young girl unresponsive became the object of attention himself when police arrived in front of his home in the Gordon Head neighbourhood.

In late 2017, a vehicle hit 11-year-old Leila Bui at the intersection of Ash Road and Torquay Road. Bui remains unresponsive. Her state has inspired neighbours including Gerry Tearoe to lobby for improvements. They include reducing the speed limit along Ash Road to 40 km/h from 50 km/h. Other possibilities include the introduction of a roundabout at the intersection where the collision happened.

Saanich Police, however, have also said they have received reports of individuals taking matters into their own hands by jumping out into traffic to slow down drivers.

“I don’t know who it is…but there are people who have been doing that, and who have been seen doing that,” said Sgt. Alan Kurzinski of Saanich Police. “That is why we are concerned. That is why we are here today.”

Wearing a yellow safety vest and a clipboard, Tearoe was tracking traffic. But his physical presence also had another purpose. “I’m trying to slow down traffic on this street,” he said. “I have not seen any police, any police, who are monitoring it. I’m a citizen of Gordon Head and I shouldn’t have to be out here doing this, to slow down the traffic,” he said.

He points to his clipboard. “These are all the ones I have slowed down, or are within what I would say reasonable speed,” he said. “Most of them I slow down by my presence, because they don’t know who I am. These are the [vehicles over the speed limit and who stayed over.” The first category takes up a large section of the paper, the second is smaller, but not insubstantial.

As he was describing his agenda, Kurzinski and Const. DJ Swanstrom, arrived. Kurzinski told Tearoe that Saanich Police had received complaints about his activities.

“We have had a concern about safety,” said Kurzinski.

Tearoe sounded puzzled. “In what way was I impacting my safety or anybody else’s safety?” he said.

“You are distracting drivers,” said Kurzinski. “That is what I’m told. I’m just here doing my job. I don’t make up these complaints.”

“Do you buy that?” asked Tearoe.

“I don’t need to buy anything,” replied Kurzinski. “I’m just responding to a citizen, who has complained. They have got concerns. So I’m just out here to identify you and make sure you are OK and you are safe and you are not doing anything wrong out here. And from the looks of it, I don’t think so.”

This exchange did not necessarily settle the issue. Tearoe’s wife Lesley Machan complained about what she considered was the selectiveness of police. “This gets more response than the traffic,” she said.

Kurzinski said police have monitored and enforced area traffic in the past through readers that police can control remotely.

“We’ve got 1,300 roads in Saanich, over 700 kilometres of roads, and we have complaints like this from all neighbourhoods, so we move them around on a weekly basis,” he said. “Usually, they stay up for a week, and then they go [elsewhere]. This has been a high profile issue, and that is why they have been back here more than once,” he said.

By this time, other neighbours had joined the conversation, which continued for another twenty minutes with considerable back-and-forth.

Kurzinski urged residents to report any serious traffic violations in the area, otherwise, their lobbying efforts with the municipality will fail. (Residents plan meet with Mayor Richard Atwell in the near future). He also said most drivers respect speed limits, adding some drivers will speed regardless. He also reminded residents police are taking action. “May be you don’t see us, but we are here enforcing [traffic rules].” h

He also reiterated concerns about reports about individuals, who have stepped into traffic to slow down drivers.

“Very, very, dangerous,” he said.

Tearoe, for his part, said in a letter interview with the Saanich News he has never jumped out into traffic, nor does he know anyone, who did.

“Nobody in the group would be that stupid,” added Machan. “We don’t have death wishes. That is why we want to change the road.”

Tearoe said the encounter with police was productive and that both sides left on good terms. “We had a good discussion.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Saanich man fears tougher moorage policies could cost him his home

Stewart Jackson has been living on a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park for about four years

Grave site at Ross Bay Cemetery vandalized overnight

Graffiti found on grave of Sir James Douglas

Thief robs Saanich liquor store at gunpoint, takes cash register

Police ask for public’s help with ongoing investigation

RCMP seek man who allegedly robbed Langford liquor store with a gun

Man described as six to six foot four tall, with slim build and light-coloured skin

Young Island skiers pick up medals at second Teck BC Cup in Prince George

Strathcona Nordic Ski Club athletes nabbed podium finishes

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Canadian Premier League announces 2020 home dates for eight-team circuit

Pacific FC hosts FC Edmonton on April 11 in Langford

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read