There’s a standoff happening west of Honeymoon Bay and Wayne Atkinson says he isn’t backing down.
Atkinson is fed up with motorists driving faster than the posted speed limits so he’s strategically placed a chair and a cone at Myers and South Shore Roads to ensure drivers slow down.
“Speeding is a big no-no from me,” he explained. “Ten years ago my partner was killed on the Youbou Highway from speeding, so I am not a fan.”
In August of 2012 a motorcyclist struck and killed 48-year-old Sandra Dempsey (also known as Sandra Engstrom) as she crossed the Youbou Highway with a friend’s dog at Neva Road. The bike’s driver also died.
While the speeding has been an issue for a while now, a few weeks ago, he lost his cat on the road.
“That’s when I stepped up to shut it down,” he explained. “I just don’t want to see anyone get hurt out here but we are at an impasse,” Atkinson admitted. “Lots of industrial traffic, logging trucks and tourists driving way too fast. The RCMP have stepped up patrols but there is only so much they can do.”
While some have expressed their thanks to Atkinson for the reminder to slow down, others have been less accepting of his traffic calming measures.
“A couple days ago, someone was stopping and they would throw the chairs and the cones in the bush,” he said. “The chair was hit twice by a vehicle. Another guy ran over the cone on purpose as we watched him.”
Atkinson said some issues have been reported to the CVRD, including naming some of those who repeatedly speed through the area.
“We contacted the CVRD again and got no response so my wife has written a complaint to the ombudsman,” he said. “We have been in contact with the MOTI [Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure], the logging companies, and other companies as well to tell them to slow down.”
Atkinson said recently he confronted a man in a work truck who was driving too fast.
“When I told him to slow down, he said ‘why?’ so I said because it’s a 50 zone.”
The men got into a verbal altercation which resulted in Atkinson reporting the speeder to the RCMP.
He said his chair and cone are there to stay.
“I’m absolutely not backing down. There are kids walking around here, people walking, elk, bear crossing the road all the time,” he said. “They will stay till I get some resolution. It’s absolutely brutal out here between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. with them going to work and then again around 2 or 3 p.m. on their way back from the woods, and a lot of tourists drive crazy. It’s just insane.”
CVRD Area F Director Ian Morrison said while the roads in question are in the electoral area he represents, “it’s strictly an RCMP thing. I believe he’s been directed to the RCMP.”
Cpl. Alex Bérubé, spokesperson for the Island District RCMP said the Lake Cowichan RCMP “are aware and are monitoring and conducting enforcement when possible” but that “the enforcement is based on priority tasks and other calls for service that are generated in the Lake Cowichan area.”