Crashes on the Malahat and Highwy 14 can cause lengthy highway shutdowns. (Black Press Media)

UPDATE: CRD director lobbies for full cellphone service on Pacific Marine Circle Tour

‘Critical to highway safety,’ says Mike Hicks

Vancouver Island’s Pacific Marine Circle Tour might be a relaxing and beautiful drive – but a local politician says the highway’s lack of cellphone service also makes it dangerous.

The 290-kilometre highway starts and ends in Victoria, with views of the Juan De Fuca, Haro, and Georgia straits. Much of the route weaves through remote wilderness.

Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca’s electoral area director for the Capital Regional District, says more than half of the highway route has no cellphone service.

Hicks concerns heightened recently when the province announced it wouldn’t go ahead with plans for alternative routes for the Malahat highway.

RELATED: No to alternate route

A study, released in December, examined emergency detour routes that can be used when traffic incidents close the Malahat for long periods. Permanent alternate routes were not part of the study’s scope, Janelle Staite, regional deputy director for the B.C. Transportation Ministry, said.

The decision to not go ahead with any new route means in the event of a road closure on either the Malahat Highway or Highway 14, the only alternative route remains is the Pacific Marine Circle.

“If the province is decided on continuing with the Circle route it should ensure that it gets cell service on that route as soon as possible. This is a common sense factor and is critical to the safety of that highway,” Hicks said.

Hicks added he’s working to get that service put into place, but that the assistance of the province would be “hugely beneficial and the responsible thing to do.”

ALSO READ: CRD against alternate route

Any mobile service provider can install new cell sites, which would bring wireless and internet connectivity to the area.

Telus was the only cellphone company to respond to an interview request.

Telus provides wireless service along the between Victoria to Sooke, Victoria to Duncan, and Duncan to Lake Cowichan, and is looking at the possibility of expanding service along Highway 14 between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

“We will continue to explore opportunities to connect more of the highway in this area in the future, working collaboratively with local and provincial authorities,” said Liz Sauvé, a Telus spokesperson.

– with files from Black Press Media



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters face police as protest continues at Victoria government building

‘We are unarmed, they have guns,’ protesters chanted on Wednesday morning

Sooke homeowners face 6.58% tax hike

District councillors unveil their 2020 budget today

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

B.C.’s first ride-hailing app to launch in Tofino, Whistler in February

The Whistle! app will be available in Tofino on Feb.1 and in Whistler Feb. 6.

Councillor resigns in Revelstoke after colleagues approved 67% raise

Council approved a 134 per cent raise for the mayor of Revelstoke

Rolled-over dairy truck in Abbotsford lost 40,000 litres of milk

Truck removed Sunday, Jan. 19, with specialized equipment to upright vehicle

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Most Read