LETTER: Keep Ocean Boulevard closed

There have been a number of letters bemoaning the closing of Ocean Boulevard to through traffic. Most of these cite the “online survey” as some form of proof of democratic consensus on the closure. Each of these also mention vehicle traffic as some definitive metric to justify the reopening.

It would be better if the writers would just come clean with their intentions. They simply want to be able to drive through Ocean Boulevard.

Let me address the “increased traffic on Sooke Road/Island Highway” canard. Firstly, these writers expose themselves when they mention that the closure of Ocean Boulevard has increased traffic on Sooke Road. These folks have obviously never commuted to Victoria from Colwood before the COVID epidemic occurred. The idea that Sooke Road or the Island Highway are in any way busy now defies belief. There simply is little to no traffic at all now, regardless of Ocean Boulevard’s closure. This is due simply to the fact that hardly any commuters are going to work now. To use “traffic increases on Sooke Road” as an argument for reopening is nonsensical and in bad faith.

To use the online survey as proof of democratic support for the closure is also biased. In general, the survey does present an impression that a majority of Colwood supports the closure. But in reality, it’s probably hard to tell. What would the survey look like if the other side of Ocean Boulevard was full of houses along the road (instead of Fort Rodd Hill parkland)? I bet if there were residential properties on both sides of the lagoon the survey would have went the other way. However, this is counter-factual argument.

In my position, I would like to see it closed because I enjoy walking and biking through the lagoon area with my kids without the worry of people ripping through there in their vehicles. My intentions are selfish, just as those who wish to see it reopened, but at least I admit it. It’s getting harder and harder to find relatively quiet places nowadays, and the lagoon sans-traffic is one of them. And what a gem it is.

It took guts to keep the lagoon closed by council and they may regret their decision. However, the lagoon with no through traffic is a treat so I encourage residents to come down and walk around the beach and see how nice it is. You can still drive down there, you just can’t drive through.

Eric Neilson

Colwood

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