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Briefly: May 4, 2012

Protecting motorcyclists Powell River RCMP are conducting checks to decrease motorcycle accidents and make streets safer for motorists on two wheels as part of Motorcycle Awareness Month in May.

Protecting motorcyclists

Powell River RCMP are conducting checks to decrease motorcycle accidents and make streets safer for motorists on two wheels as part of Motorcycle Awareness Month in May.

Constable Chris Bakker said good weather will bring out motorcyclists and drivers need to be on the lookout. “With more riders on the road, we need to ensure their safety by increasing enforcement and education for both riders and drivers.”

According to ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia), motorcycles account for 3.3 per cent of all traffic on BC roads and are involved in about 13 per cent of fatal collisions. Riders are more vulnerable to injury.

Inexperience and riding beyond capability are common reasons for motorcycle accidents, said Bakker. “One of the issues we have been dealing with locally is novice riders operating their motorcycles without qualified supervision as per their licence restrictions. Police will be looking for this and riders who do this can receive a ticket for driving contrary to restrictions which comes with a $109 fine. Riding a motorcycle with a qualified supervisor is important for a novice to ensure they safely gain experience on the roads.”

The provincial government has announced new safety regulations for motorcyclists. Effective June 1, safety industry standards will be implemented for helmets. Novelty helmets known as skid lids, skull caps or beanies which do not meet new requirements are no longer permitted.

Passengers are required to place feet on foot pegs or floorboards. To improve visibility and enforcement, font size on motorcycle licence plates has increased by 0.95 centimeters (three-eighths of an inch) since May 2011.

The goal is to reduce fatalities and injuries from motorcycles involved in crashes.

Youth start fire

Police have located those responsible for a fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall, also known as the clubhouse, on the old golf course in Townsite. Three youth aged 16 to 18 years old were found to be responsible.

Constable Chris Bakker, Powell River RCMP, said the fire was an accident and not arson. “There was a group of youth in there and they started a fire to keep warm and it got out of control,” he said.

The fire, which broke out mid-afternoon on October 26, 2011 and raged until after midnight, destroyed the building. Charges have not been forwarded at this time. Bakker added police do not think this case is linked to other fires in the area.

In September 2011 a fire burned a small shed in the 7000 block of Duncan Street. In October a vacant building on Joyce Avenue owned by School District 47 was gutted by a fire.

On January 7, 2012 a fire gutted the lower floor of a building on Ash Avenue in Townsite. During their investigation, RCMP received a description of a man standing across the street while the building burned. They believe the man may have been a witness.

He is believed to be in his late 40s or 50s, about five feet nine inches or five feet 10 inches tall, with balding, reddish-brown hair, a pockmarked and unshaven face, wearing a black jacket, grey pants and a fedora hat.

Anyone who might have information about the fires is asked to please call Powell River RCMP at 604.485.6255 or CrimeStoppers at 1.800.222.8477 (TIPS).

Plan amendment

Powell River Regional District directors passed the third reading of an amendment to the Savary Island official community plan (OCP) at the April 26 board meeting.

The amendment is designed to bring the OCP into compliance with a section of the Local Government Act that requires the establishment of targets and policies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The regional district held a public hearing on Savary at the end of March. There were only two members of the public who attended and much of the input the regional district received suggested that the meeting should have been held during the summer when more islanders could attend.

When asked about that input, Patrick Brabazon, Electoral Area A director, said the province required the amendment. “It’s pretty straight forward and to delay it any further than we have now is simply unproductive,” he said.

The amendment includes a new section on climate change adaptation and mitigation that includes objectives and policies. For example, one policy states the regional district will work with islanders to prepare for sea level rise by encouraging development guidelines for shoreline areas. Another promotes energy efficiency and energy substitution in home renovations and building.

The bylaw amendment has been forwarded to the ministry of community, sport and cultural development for approval.