Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Disaster Preparedness Resources

In light of the inconsistent response to the Tsunami warning for the west coast of Vancouver Island on January 22, 2018, OPSRRA has compiled a list of resources for our members in case of a major emergency. OPSRRA is not a disaster-preparedness organization per se, but we do want to provide our members—and others—with basic information on emergencies, as self-education and preparation are essential.

Keep in mind that you would need to play an active role to ensure your own safety, well-being, and security for such possibilities (or eventualities, if you are of the glass-half-full persuasion). You also would be responsible for your family and pets.

Please be aware that governmental resources/responses could be delayed, inaccessible, and/or inadequate during potential crises—especially for residents in more remote areas.

CRD Resources

This CRD link includes a good general overview, with a very thorough PDF worth downloading to help you prepare for future emergencies.

On the CRD site above, there is an opportunity for residents to sign up for alert notifications, which is well worth doing here.

Other Resources

Twitter is an option for those who are comfortable with the platform and technology (of course, your mobile device would have to have power, be turned on, and within earshot to hear the audio notification of a “tweet” for emergency purposes).

EmergencyInfoBC further explains the alert notification system, some of which are in the development phase (for instance, text alerts are slated to begin in April 2018):

Within the Juan de Fuca area, Juan de Fuca Emergency Management has a great deal of information.

It is important to familiarize yourself with resources on potential weather-specific disasters:

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Highway 14 Improvements announced by Premier Horgan

Premier John Horgan is fulfilling his commitment to improving Highway 14 (Sooke Road and West Coast Road) in an announcement of $10 million in upgrades.  There are two particular improvements to note, west of Sooke:

  • A slow-moving vehicle pullout, just east of Muir Creek and
  • A new rest area at the Sombrio lookout, featuring picnic tables and washrooms.
OPSRRA believes that these two endeavours are good starting points on the long and winding road and look forward to additional future improvements.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

January 2018 Quarterly Director’s Report

Welcome to 2018! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are off to a happy and prosperous new year!
Here’s what your Board and OPSRRA have been up to in the fall of 2017.

Hwy 14 Safety and Access

This issue has probably been foremost on everyone’s minds lately, and OPSRRA was pleased to host a panel discussion held on November 5, 2017, at the CRD Services Building in Otter Point, called Safety, Speed and Noise on West Coast and Otter Point Roads. This included representatives from the RCMP, Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement, Timberwest, Forest Safety Council, first responders, and CRD, as well as a representative attending from the office of our MLA and Premier John Horgan. With over 50 people in attendance, there was some good dialogue and discussion on possible solutions as well as the issues. 

This panel session, and OPSRRA’s September 21, 2017, letter to John Horgan’s Office, seem to have helped in providing input to the Premier’s announcement on November 20, 2017, that the province will be expanding its study and review of Highway 14 (including Sooke and West Coast Roads) extending to Port Renfrew. OPSRRA submitted a letter to the editor in newspapers in the region emphasizing the safety issues, our efforts, and lauding the Province’s announcement. OPSRRA’s president and a resident from JDF EA also had a meeting with CRD and representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on November 29, 2017, to discuss immediate safety issues along West Coast Road, as well as ongoing discussions on upgrades to Otter Point Road between CRD and the Premier’s Office. Discussions amongst these and other agencies continue.

Community Signage

OPSRRA submitted a request letter on November 21, 2017, to Mike Hicks for funding from CRD and/or BC Hydro to replace deteriorating community signage (“Welcome to Jordan River”) at the east and west borders of the Jordan River along Hwy 14 (West Coast Road). BC Hydro responded that they would look into it, and we will continue to follow up with them.

Board Member Change-up

Wendy Morton has stepped down as director from the OPSRRA board, but will be continuing her good work supporting OPSRRA’s activities in the community.

We’re also pleased to welcome Dan Peiser as an interim director to the board. Dan has spent over 30 years working in the not-for-profit sector in Canada and the U.S., and has served as volunteer, staff, consultant, or board member with dozens of organizations, in social services, environment/conservation, health, higher education, and international development. He is currently a consultant in not-for-profit management, communications, and fund development based in British Columbia and now resides in Otter Point. We look forward to his knowledge and experience as our newest board member in assisting OPSRRA with its communications activities. Welcome Dan!

Next Board Meeting

Our next Board meeting will be February 4, 2018, at 7:30 PM at the CRD Services Building on Butler Road in Otter Point.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, concerns, and/or you wish to volunteer your time and assistance in any way at In the meantime, have a safe winter and we hope to see you at our Annual General Meeting this spring (date to be announced).

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Update: Article about Road Safety

A top priority of OPSRRA – and for all residents of Otter Point, Shirley, and Jordan River – is safety on Highway 14 and Otter Point Roads. OPSRRA’s board and other community volunteers are actively following up on the November 5, 2017, panel discussion/public meeting, Speed, Safety, and Noise on West Coast and Otter Point Roads. These efforts will be highlighted in OPSRRA’s upcoming newsletter.

In the meantime, you might be interested in reading a thought-provoking article by RCMP Constable Tim Schewe (Retired), called Unmarked police cars, and the “I Can Get Away With It” Mindset. This piece recently appeared in the online publication for our community, Sooke Pocket News.

The psychology of “getting-away-with-it” and the three pillars of engineering, education, and enforcement are relevant to better understand issues around road safety. Reading this piece is well worth the time for anyone who is concerned about traffic safety in our community and beyond.