An uptick in the number of traffic infractions in downtown Blaine has the Blaine City Council bristling, particularly when it comes to drivers running stop signs.
“Is there anything we can do to keep people from running the stop sign at Peace Portal and H Street,” councilmember Steve Lawrenson asked Blaine police chief Mike Haslip at the regular city council meeting on April 14.
“We’ve already got flashing red lights, stop signs, the word stop painted on the street,” Haslip said. “I’m open to any suggestions you might have.”
Councilmembers noted their perception is that many of the stop sign offenders are Canadian drivers.
“Could we change the signs to ‘Stop, eh?’” mayor Harry Robinson said to an uproar of laughter from the room. “Maybe that would help?”
Lawrenson noted he has also observed a number of drivers using H Street as a shortcut to the Peace Arch crossing when the truck crossing gets backed up. “They’re going through the school district in the afternoons, and they aren’t slowing down,” he said. “We need to do something to ensure the safety of our school children.”
While Haslip said he couldn’t confirm it was just Canadians skipping past the red octagons or speeding down H Street, he did note that there seemed to be a difference in perception of what regulatory signs mean north of the border and that his office has been trying to address the issue. “I’ve had interviews with two newspapers in Surrey this week about this matter,” he said. “We’re not content with just writing citations about it. We’re reaching out to make people aware that it’s a problem.”
In other business, council approved setting a public hearing on the annexation of a 15-acre multi-owner parcel into the city of Blaine.
In February, Amirtpal Singh Toor petitioned the city to annex the lot so he could take advantage of the city’s utilities. Toor, one of the property owners, requested the annexation by direct petition to the city and submitted a notice of intent to seek annexation.
The property is located at the northeast corner of Sweet and Odell roads, and is adjacent to property that is currently zoned for manufacturing. The annexation would bring the plot within the city’s borders and give the city control over the entire Sweet and Odell intersection. It would also allow Toor to connect to the city’s water and sewer systems that service the area.
There are currently two homes on the property. However, Toor and his associates own 13.5 acres of the parcel, and will exceed the 60-percent threshold required for their petition to annex, Jones said.
The property is within the city’s urban growth area.
Holding a public hearing about the property is part of the multi-step process required for annexation. The public hearing will be held on April 28.
Council also approved the lease of one of the city’s spare conduits on Boblett Street to Wave Cable (aka Black Rock Cable). “They have a new customer on Fir Avenue,” said city public works director Ravyn Whitewolf. “They contacted us to see if they could use that spare conduit. Since we put it in as a spare in 1994, we’ve never needed it. We still have another spare in the circuit.”
Whitewolf said leasing the conduit to the cable company would also reap benefits for the Gateway property, which used to be the Blaine airport. “We’ll be able to get fiber optic wire to that site,” she said. “We’ve committed Black Rock to making that extension happen at no cost to the developer as part of this lease.”
Whitewolf said the negotiated price for the lease was at the upper end of what they would normally pay for that use.
The revenue from the lease would be returned to the light fund, to the disappointment of councilmember Bonnie Onyon. “There’s no way for this money to go into our IT fund?” she asked.
Whitewolf said it wouldn’t be possible. “It would be nice, but not an appropriate use for the funds,” she said. “The money goes to the utility that built the conduit in the first place.”