The District of Barriere has begun what will be a long process of revitalization of the downtown core. Numerous studies and work sessions have already been done around what the overall scheme should be. There is no intention to reinvent the wheel so this good work will be dusted off and brought forth for consideration. Consideration for what should be done first and what will follow needs to be determined. The last thing we need is to dig up Barriere Town Road for the sewer line and then have to dig it up again to replace the water lines or have to go back to add connections of any sort.
That is in the near future. Right now there is a need to correct some problems that have been around for a good long time and with increased traffic are getting worse. Traffic and pedestrian congestion around the Credit Union, Post Office, Barriere Employment Centre as well as the shopping mall is at the point that it will cause an accident sooner or later. It is only through the will of God or plain blind luck that so far there has not been a serious incident.
Barriere is growing and that is a good thing. People are using the services and shopping downtown which is also a very good thing. There is additional traffic on Barriere Town Road as a result. Residents shopping, picking up their mail and doing their banking mingle with heavy trucks and other vehicles using Barriere Town Road as a through route. They all come together at the corner of Barriere Town Road, Salle Road and Barkley Road. This is not good. Any good roads planner will tell you that this intersection has serious shortfalls as it stands now. It is a recipe for disaster and the law of averages says eventually we will have such a disaster.
When I was first elected I went and looked at an unrecognizable chunk of metal in the towing yard. Then I went and stood on the side of the highway were a small SUV and a large truck came together. Apparently the curve of the highway was icy. This was perhaps due to a chronic problem with runoff from the snow banks that went across the road and washed the sand away. In most cases it was not a problem. This time there was a problem, a serious problem. The conditions happened to be as they were that night and the road surface was very slippery. The small SUV and a large transport collided.
It could be said that if either vehicle had been a bit earlier or later the accident would not have happened. Bad luck, fate or simply the law of averages came into play and unfortunately these two vehicles were in the same place at the same time. As a result a whole family lost their lives in a horrible crash. The transport truck driver, tow truck operators, First Responders and the RCMP members present will have a horrific memory as a result of what was for all intents and purposes a chance encounter.
Could the accident have been prevented? That is not for me to say. What I can say is that I never want to look back at such a terrible tragedy and have to admit to myself that I could have done something to try and prevent it from happening but did nothing. Going forward, after doing my level best to make any situation as safe as it can be, should such a tragedy happen I will never step aside and try to deflect blame on to others. If I ignore an unsafe situation here in The District then the blame is mine to shoulder.
In the case of Barriere Town road I do have some input as to how we can make some changes to increase safety for our residents. I intend to do so even if it is unpopular at the outset. If a change proves unworkable it will be replaced. This process will continue until we have a downtown core that is a safe and pleasant experience for both pedestrians and drivers alike.
I do not speak for other members of Council. It would not be right to do so without their expressed permission.