Skip to content

Sooke council presses province for Highway 14 improvements

Meeting with transportation ministry leaves mayor and councillors wanting more
Traffic concerns in Sooke are primarily due to limited road infrastructure that cannot keep pace with the growing population, resulting in congestion during peak hours and commuting delays. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sooke councillors hit the gas last week on the province’s plans for Highway 14.

Council met with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) officials to discuss travel conditions along the highway 14. The committee of the whole meeting faimed to facilitate idea exchanges and set priorities for improving travel to, from, and within the community.

Traffic concerns in Sooke are primarily due to limited road infrastructure that cannot keep pace with the growing population, resulting in congestion during peak hours and commuting delays. The main arterial roads, such as Sooke Road, often experience heavy traffic, further exacerbated by construction projects and accidents.

Former district councillor Ron Doumont candly expressed the community’s frustration.

“We talk about all kinds of things, but we don’t talk about how we’re going to improve existing traffic,” Doumont said, noting that it takes him 30 minutes to drive four miles to his home in Sooke.

Over the last decade, the average annual traffic on Highway 14 has increased by about 25 per cent, reflecting the growth of Sooke and the West Shore. Approximately 17,000 vehicles a day travel between Sooke and the West Shore.

Michael Pearson, Vancouver Island manager for MOTI, said the province has continually invested in Highway 14, including the recently completed Connie to Glinz Lake Road corridor.

Shawn Haley, the operations manager for the South Island, highlighted several ongoing infrastructure projects in Sooke, which he believes will positively impact the area. These projects, currently in various stages of construction and design, include the Little River Corridor Trail, the Charters Road streetscape, and the installation of sidewalks connecting Ed Macgregor Park to the Prestige Oceanfront Resort.

The transportation ministry is one of several agencies working to alleviate congestion on Highway 14, alongside the district, B.C. Transit, and the Sooke School District.

Pearson mentioned that “a lot of planning” is ongoing along the Sooke corridor with master plans in place for Sooke and the South Island. The ministry takes a comprehensive approach to improvements that include more sustainable travel options and a broader view of more integrated travel modes, including transit and highway safety.

“We’re happy to to work with Sooke on their priorities,” Pearson said.

Mayor Maja Tait and Coun. Al Beddows expressed frustration after the meeting, as the ministry officials revealed little of their future plans.

“We were talking to the wrong people. If it’s not in master plan, its not their decision,” Beddows said.

Tait dismissed the idea of forming a mayor’s task force, expressing a preference for advocating specific projects instead. Since her election to council in 2011, she has lobbied the provincial government.

Now that Sooke has appointed a permanent CAO, Tait said, both staff and council can concentrate on the community’s plans for Highway 14 and engage the necessary stakeholders.

“The whole thing is an advocacy piece,” Tait explained. “When you advocate, you really need to come with solutions on what needs to change.”

RELATED: Highway 14 improvements to be ‘significantly complete’ by fall: Province

RELATED: Premier unapologetic about Highway 14 development plans

Kevin Laird

About the Author: Kevin Laird

It's my passion to contribute to the well-being of the community by connecting people through the power of reliable news and storytelling.
Read more