Members of the public will potentially have more say and more insight into decisions governing the use of Manson Road following a successful bid by the Capital Regional District to take over its jurisdiction, but an ongoing battle to locate outdoor cafe seating there remains to be fully resolved.
The CRD announced Friday the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had granted the local government body a five-year license of occupation for the small stretch of laneway located beside the Tree House Cafe, effective immediately. While the decision will not greatly effect cafe seating, it could ensure the undeveloped roadway stays car-free in non-emergency situations.
“I think it’s a positive step,” said Tree House cafe owner Mark LeCorre. “If the CRD says it’s not a roadway and cars can’t go through that section, I think that’s positive as well.”
A CRD news release says the ministry’s decision was important because it recognizes a strong community desire to have Manson Road under local government with elected representation and an open and transparent governance model.
“With our strong relationships with the MoTI and the Island Trusts it will make planning and operational matters involving that portion of the roadway easier to facilitate, as well as being more flexible in options both for the public and local business,” the statement adds.
The area has been a point of contention ever since 2014, when the Harbour Authority of Salt Spring Island (HASSI) ordered the Tree House to remove its outdoor seating to protect vehicle access to the Kanaka Dock wharf-head. LeCorre signed a temporary agreement with HASSI last August that allows the Tree House to serve food and drinks on a gravelled part of Manson Road until April 30, 2018.
LeCorre said the changeover to CRD authority may not actually impact his business much because he had already located tables on the MoTI portion of Manson Road with the ministry’s okay. He will now have to negotiate with the CRD for the same right, while use of the infilled portion next to the boardwalk continues to be governed by HASSI.
For the full story, please the Jan. 25 print edition of the Gulf Islands Driftwood.