Al Wickheim points towards the slowly collapsing bank near King Creek

Al Wickheim points towards the slowly collapsing bank near King Creek

West Coast Road deterioration raises concern

No concerns regarding the safety of the travelling public, says Transportation Ministry

West Coast Road is a vital travel artery. It connects Greater Victoria to the far-end reaches of Port Renfrew and beyond, along it, countless natural wonders await curious visitors from far away.

Wondrous as it may be, however, the road is also exposed to the harsh terrain and natural and unnatural elements, such as seismic activity, the combined weight of hundreds of logging trucks, and the erosion by wind and sea.

Such is the case of the stretch crossing King Creek, a place of childhood memory for Otter Point resident Al Wickheim.

In the last decade, the road has become a cause of concern for Wickheim, who believes the bank at the bottom is being rapidly eroded by the tides, potentially risking the road’s collapse.

“If we get a southeasterly coming through here at high tide, we could wake up in the morning and this will be gone,” he said.

“Not only is the infrastructure is going to go, but it will be one of those news stories where somebody drives into a big hole in the middle of the road.”

Way back a 100 years ago, there was no West Coast Road going through, just a grassy beach at the bottom. In the 1930s, when the road was built, a bridge was implemented to connect the west with the east.

Wickheim recalled the bridge was “rickety” and didn’t last long, so a culvert was later put in over King Creek, filling the rest with pit run gravel.

This, Wickheim said, is where the trouble began.

“There’s no structural material there other than fill,” he said, explaining the bank angle of repose — a slope that a fluid will take naturally, something which gravel is known to do.

“The angle of repose to that slope will mean that three feet inwards, it will drop down to find its angle of repose, because that’s what it wants to do. It’ll keep eating away at the bank.”

And it has.

Wickheim pointed towards a former trail with steps that led from the top of a fire hydrant to the bottom of the beach; the trail is now gone, replaced with dozens of trees that have tilted downwards, pulling more of the bank with them.

Despite Wickheim’s concerns, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure sees the matter in a less severe light.

“At this time, there are no concerns regarding the safety of the travelling public on this section of Highway 14,” said Sonia Lowe, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“With the safety of the public our highest priority, ministry staff will continue to actively monitor the site and will undertake additional technical work to develop a long-term solution.”

Lowe, added that ministry staff is aware of concerns about the erosion at this location and has done a preliminary assessment.

Still, Wickheim believes the matter is not only concerning, but preventable, at least at this point.

“All they have to do is ditch this down about six feet deep, fill it with a couple of rows of big boulders to about halfway,” he said.

“The fix here is not cheap, but it’s easy, and it’ll prevent a more serious problem.”

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read