On Saturday, June 1, not 100 feet away from the ambulance station, Cameron Erickson and Tracy Munro chanced across a woman in distress. She was a middle-aged woman in a mobility scooter, and she was stuck in the dirt in the construction zone just to the west side of the new Hope Centre. Munro said the woman was in tears, from both the distress and from anger at being stuck like that.
Toward the back of the photograph, you can see the Sooke-standard faux sidewalk (the hard-packed gravel in the back by the cement divider). Traveling east into Sooke proper, the faux sidewalk transitions to a loose beach-sand blend. It was here that the woman in the scooter got stuck. After the beach sand were the planks (foreground) which drop down about eight inches to some more hard-packed gravel. This hard-packed-gravel-in-the-dip continues for the duration of the Hope Centre. As it transitions to the front of the ambulance station, some more loose sand/gravel lifts it out of the dip onto more faux-sidewalks.
In this stretch of the road, there are no easy options for crossing, especially with the thick and steady stream that has come to grace our town during daylight hours.
When Erickson chanced upon this woman, her scooter was tilting over and her leg was extended in efforts to prevent a complete tip. The indentations where still there when the Sooke News Mirror went to the site. The woman could not move her scooter forward or back. Her wheels were spinning in vain.
Cars were racing by; none stopping to help.
On seeing this, Erickson went to help. The woman in the scooter had some mobility and was able to get from her scooter to the other side of the Hope Centre, and Erickson carried her scooter across for her.
He told us she was just out for a loaf of bread.
The Sooke News Mirror called Knight Contracting to hear their view. The man who answered the phone said the proper signage is in place, indicating that the sidewalk — for what it is — is closed.
However, a drive past the location after our phone call verified that such signs did not exist. Could be in part because the sidewalks don’t officially exist either.
“All we can do is hurry up and get it done,” said the man who answered their phone on Saturday. He did not want to give his name.
We did attempt to reach the District of Sooke several times by phone on Monday, but no one got back to us before going to print.
Construction is scheduled to be finished some time in August.