Let’s face it.
Most of us are inextricably tied to the belief that we have a basic human right to get where we’re going in the comfort of our own vehicles.
There are a lot of problems associated with that concept, not the least of which is the fact that our transportation routes have frequently proven unable to keep up with the ever-increasing number of cars making their way down what, in essence, are updated wagon trails.
Highway 14, with it’s roller-coaster-like series of twists and turns is the only real viable route in and out of Sooke, and despite a claimed $10 million in improvements, any trip on that stretch on a dark, rainy night still inspires the sort of white-knuckle, soul-sucking fear generally reserved for Wes Craven film festivals or a three-day visit from the in-laws.
The Malahat is a little better, as evidenced by the fact that accidents on that route regularly lead to hours-long shutdowns that drive frustrated drivers to distraction.
Improvements are needed and it’s clear that an alternate emergency route around the Malahat seems like a no-brainer.
But not so fast.
The recent suggestion to explore an alternate route through the Sooke Water Supply Area is a wrong-headed step too far.
The proposal is to explore a route though a land reserve that is currently out of bounds to pretty much everyone by virtue of the fact that it is the site of the Sooke Reservoir. That’s where much of the drinking water for the CRD (including Sooke) is held.
The flippant observations of Chris Foord, the vice chair of the CRD Traffic Commission, were less than inspiring when he referenced to the 40,000 litres of diesel that spilled into the water around Goldstream Park some time ago and said that he seriously doubted that the watershed route could do worse.
In response to this proposal, CRD director Mike Hicks, has suggested that we’d be better served by pursuing improvements on the Pacific Marine Circle Route.
It’s two hours longer and by no means perfect but at least, once the commute was completed, drivers would still be able to have a drink of water.