Drive up Woodley Road towards the house of Jim Smith, and it becomes obvious what angers him.
Lines of gravel, interrupted here and there, parallel the road. They are remnant of recent upgrades to local storm and water sewers on this quiet one-way street.
For Smith, the work has compounded the parking problem in the area, a quiet collection of understated but pleasant homes off Richmond south of Mount Tolmie.
“There is a serious [parking] problem,” he told council last month. It is actually getting worse with this upgrade.”
The parking problem stems from several reasons. First, the area is popular with students attending nearby post-secondary institutions. The University of Victoria (UVic) lies to the northeast, the Lansdowne Campus of Camosun College to the south. So when house parties and other get-to-togethers happen, parking quickly becomes an issue, said Smith.
“When you get parties, I have seen the road full of cars,” he said.
Second, the area is popular with those who do not want to pay for parking at nearby Camosun College, said Smith.
This “excessive” amount of parking in turn restricts the access of fire trucks and ambulances, said Smith.
“And now that they [Saanich] are taking some of the parking at the side of the road parking that has been there for 30 years, it is only going to increase the problem. Now is the time to put it right,” said Smith.
Smith made these remarks two weeks ago, while speaking during’s council open forum, during which he submitted a petition from area residents and presented his solution for the problem.
“Simply remove the soft soil from the municipal shoulder, where appropriate to a depth of 12 inches, then replace with two-inch rock with a covering of gravel,” he said. “If any home owner would like to maintain the grass coverage, they can simply brush top soil into the rock and seed it with grass. This in turn would increase maintain the hard shoulder for parking, resulting in no damage.”
Smith also pushed for additional signage on Woodley Road to stop non-residents from parking in the area, which has already been experiencing what he described as an increase in foot, bicycle and motorcycle traffic, thanks to a narrow, unpaved trail that connects Woodley Road with University Woods, thereby creating a linkage between Richmond Road and Foul Bay Road.
In fact, a black-clad motorcyclist had driven past Smith’s house just minutes before he showed off the area.
Smith hopes Saanich will soon take him up on his concerns.
“I really want to make sure that there is good, solid parking on both sides of the street,” he said.
Megan Catalano, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich, said last week Saanich cannot say much about the issue at this stage.
“We need to communicate with the resident before we can share anything,” she said.