Saanich residents living in the area bordered by Admirals Road and Highway 1 are still struggling to have their safety concerns addressed. The main access road to their community, Portage Road, was permanently closed during the construction of the McKenzie Interchange. This has forced them to use Esson Road at what they say is a dangerous intersection.
Upon hearing the concerns of the residents, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) commissioned a road safety assessment.
The assessment — which was completed by SNC Lavalin — concluded that there were several safety precautions that aught to be taken. MoTI has said that the safety changes are outside the scope of the interchange project. The MoTI spokesperson also said that the turn from Admirals Road onto Esson Road will remain the same — despite the concerns of the residents.
The spokesperson explained that Admirals Road is under the jurisdiction of the District of Saanich, MoTI will work with them to monitor the safety of the intersection once the interchange construction is complete. The ministry will gather traffic data and assess “how the intersection is performing,” said the spokesperson.
The resident action group, the Portage Inlet Sanctuary Colquitz Estuary Society (PISCES), has put in a lot of time and effort and are confused by MoTI’s inaction. The ministry ordered the report and then chose not to heed the recommended safety changes, says George Blogg, resident and president of PISCES.
On June 28, they met with MLA Rob Fleming to ask for his assistance. According to PISCES, Fleming supports the residents’ stance that the safety recommendations from the SNC Lavalin report need to be implemented.
Fleming recognizes the need for action and will be arranging a meeting with Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes and Minister Claire Trevena, says Blogg. The residents are hopeful with Fleming’s and Haynes’ support, the safety changes will be made.
“We are cautiously optimistic the meeting with the MoTI Minister Trevena will have positive results,” he says.
PISCES feels that getting a senior-level member of the ministry involved will help to smooth things over and sort out the issue.