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In Sooke, safe road passage hindered by seasonal anglers

Left turns onto West Coast Road not safe during peak fishing season, say residents
Vehicles and boat trailers parked along the shoulder near Maple Avenue are a safety concern for people turning onto Highway 14. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)

Some residents of Maple Avenue say boat trailers and vehicles that block vision make left turns onto Highway 14 risky business.

Elida Peers, who lives in the condominium complex on Maple Avenue, said it’s not safe for condo residents and people leaving the government fishing wharf or Maple Avenue to turn left onto Highway 14 when recreational fishing is at a peak.

Although Maple Avenue is a short one-block street at that end, it does have a lot of traffic, Peers said.

ALSO READ: Hwy. 14 re-routing near Sooke not causing problems: RCMP

“There can be a long lineup from the hotel and the boat launch, and it’s impossible to see oncoming vehicles because of the number of boat trailers and vehicles parked along the shoulder of the highway,” Peers explained. “It only tends to happen during recreational fishing season, but it’s a safety concern.”

While Peers says she’s sympathetic to people who want to go fishing, the situation the parked vehicles creates is a serious issue.

She’s contacted the RCMP and the District of Sooke in search of a solution, with no success so far.

It has been an ongoing issue since the boat launch was put in, Peers said, except for a couple of years when the district arranged parking on a nearby property.

The district signed a two-year lease in 2016 for a parking lot about 100 metres from the boat launch access road, which could accommodate 12 to 15 trucks and trailers.

District officials said the move alleviated safety and parking concerns at the time.

“I’m not involved in local politics,” Peers stressed. “But when it’s fully lined up with trailers and vehicles, it’s a serious safety problem.”

Although the District of Sooke has jurisdictional limitations on Highway 14, the district has shared residents’ concerns with the Ministry of Transporation, said Christina Moog, communications coordinator for the District of Sooke.

“Residents with concerns about Highway 14, including parking on the highway, should contact MOTI (B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure) at 250-387-3798 so that the concerns can be heard directly,” Moog said.

“Within the district’s purview, signage improvements and increased education and enforcement are underway in the lot itself. While not a robust solution where demand exceeds available spaces, these actions do appear to be helping.”

Sooke RCMP Sgt. Kevin Shaw said people dealing with safety concerns should call the detachment.

“We’ll come out and make an assessment,” Shaw said. “We’re currently engaged with the District of Sooke, bylaw enforcement and the community on this issue.”

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