Flooding in 2015 budget

Uplands vision for roadways means minimal intervention

Minimal intervention, a phrase coined by councillors Pam Copley and Cairine Green Monday night (Sept. 20), seems to be the key to draining the pool on Weald Road.

Council agreed to have Oak Bay staff develop a scaled back plan to reduce flooding on Weald Road in the Uplands to be looked at for next year’s budget to alleviate water concerns in the 3100-block. The decision was made in response to requests from residents in the area that run the gamut from no work at all to a fully developed road to accommodate two-way traffic.

The latter would require major overhaul and removal of trees, staff found during several site visits. The staff report called the trees a “problem” with fully developing the road.

“Trees are not a problem, they are a blessing,” said Norman Wale, a nearly four-decade resident of Weald Road. “(The neighbourhood) is distinguished by open space, green space and treed space. The problem is inadequate drainage … it’s been the same problem for 39 years.”

Municipal staff agree drainage is a problem at times.

The asphalt road is 4.5 to 6.5 metres wide and 190 metres long with no curbs and abuts a grass boulevard where vehicles have been parking during construction work on the street for the past few years, said Dave Marshall, director of engineering in a report to council.

He suggested a handful of options for council, including waiting to address the problem in conjunction with the planned Uplands sewer and storm drain project. That however, had too lengthy a timeline.

“If we’re not going to get to it in the next foreseeable future this is the next option,” said Coun. Michelle Kirby.

The option to fully develop the roadway didn’t see much traction around the committee table. Most preferred to maintain the original design philosophy in Uplands.

“John Olmsted’s vision for Uplands … that is what needs to be taken into consideration,” said Coun. Pam Copley. “Uplands is a heritage landscape … it’s not the buildings that are so much important but the landscape, the setting.”

Newcomers should be aware of the special guidelines for Uplands she added.

Oak Bay values heritage streets, landscapes and parks, added Coun. Cairine Green.

“Weald Road reflects that very well.”

Committee agreed to have staff create a plan to include installation of asphalt water control on the east side, possible re-grading of at least two existing driveways and possible addition of a catch basin at the Cotswold end for consideration in the 2015 budget.

Motions made during committee meetings are sent to council as recommendations for future council discussion or official decision.