orry Janet Evans. Sorry Lance Watson. Sooke was not the star of your triathalon. The real stars are the CRD communities of Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River — communities whose residents have only one route to either come or go – West Coast Road, the very road that was closed to all traffic for your race throughout Sunday morning.
In a last minute, unpublicized meeting with the Ministry of Transportation, the District of Sooke managed to have residents of western Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River sentenced to the equivalent total of nearly 14 months of house arrest. That’s five hours each for every resident and visitor to the area affected by the closure of West Coast Road.
Instead of celebrating the Subaru Sooke International Triathlon, the 2,000 plus citizens who live and visit west of the District of Sooke were imprisoned in their homes for the duration of the event. No church attendance, no movies, no visiting friends or even enjoying a short trip to China Beach. We were told, at the very last minute, that we were not allowed to travel anywhere after 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. We must stay off the only road in and out of our homes so Sooke can bask in the glory of our scenery.
West of Sooke, we obviously don’t count. Our businesses don’t count. Our plans don’t count, nor do the plans of the several hundred visitors camping at French Beach and Jordan River, or staying at vacation homes and B&Bs in the area. Tough luck anyone from Port Renfrew who planned on shopping in Victoria on Sunday. Shame on all of us for wanting to enjoy a free weekend, attend a worship service, or, heaven forbid, drive to work or catch a plane or a ferry.
If Janet Evans and the Sooke council, Lance Watson’s triathlon and TSN can’t plan ahead and allow the single route in and out of the area to be safely shared by both cyclists, residents and visitors (as has been done in previous years) then West Coast Road is clearly not the appropriate venue for any further triathlon races.