Letters: Grant Road extension is a bad idea

Through road going past schools and family neighbourhoods is not wise

Re: Feb 20, 2013 letter from Tom Myrick supporting the 2014 Capital Plan.

After reading Mr. Myrick’s letter and the District of Sooke council minutes which show support for the continuation of the Grant Street extension proposal, I worry that Sooke residents may be left with the impression that this a really good idea whose time has come.  In my view, and every single Sooke resident I’ve talked to, the truth is the exact opposite.

I suspect that the main  reason for the apparent lack of opposition to this bad idea is that most people don’t realize what the plan is and its potential negative effects on Sooke. The plan, which council has committed to with a letter of understanding with the provincial highways department, is for there to be a continuous east-west road, running parallel to highway 14, from Phillips Road right through to Grant, where it meets West Coast Road. The ultimate purpose of this new road is to redirect a significant portion of the traffic from the highway onto this new “bypass” road, right through what are now quiet, single family neighbourhoods, and past two schools and a number of parks where there is probably the highest concentration of kids anywhere in Sooke at 3 p.m. on school days.  What’s particularly galling is the fact that this project is so hellishly expensive. This year alone, the small portion of new road from  Phillips to the east end of Throupe is projected to cost almost $2 million – this from a total capital budget in 2013 of $3.88 million. Then in following years there’s the cost of a new extension from Church to Grant, and sidewalks and curbs and traffic circles and all the other stuff that comes with a new through road – at least several million more. Just imagine all the sidewalks, boulevards, beautification, parks that could be provided with even a small portion of this money.

Before coming to Sooke six years ago, I lived and worked in Vancouver for 38 years. There is not a single neighbourhood in Vancouver that would have allowed such a major road to be imposed upon them.  And council, recognizing how nasty the opposition would be, doesn’t even consider such ideas. When I’ve asked long-term Sooke residents why there isn’t any opposition to this plan, they patiently explain that this was heavily debated about seven to eight years ago, and in the subsequent referendum, voters shot down the idea. Some even go on to to accuse me of getting worried about something that can’t possibly be going ahead, given the negative referendum vote.

Notwithstanding all the good work that this council has done in correcting the many mistakes and poor decisions of previous councils, for some reason they have bought into this hugely expensive road project, and have provided absolutely no opportunity for the public to be involved in advising council on capital project spending priorities.  Even if council doesn’t want to get into a public debate this late in the budgeting process, they should at least pay attention to the various surveys and polls that clearly show that our priority is not to spend a huge portion of our tax dollars making it easier and faster for cars to get through Sooke. As a minimum, council should put a hold on this expenditure until there has been a serious public discussion about capital spending priorities.

Rick Gates

Sooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read