If you’re like me you weren’t impressed by the information recently presented by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure regarding Highway 14.
I was surprised to discover in the brief assessment by ministry staff that there isn’t a viable alternate route into Sooke due to factors including difficult terrain and prohibitive cost. This staff assessment was superficial and lacked any real rigor.
Community consensus indicates Highway 14 is reaching maximum capacity and a few more bandages aren’t going to significantly address this fundamental issue. The ministry data supports this conclusion.
Straightening the road a bit, a few bus pull-outs, and another park-and-ride in a poor location aren’t going to remove large numbers of vehicles from the road nor will the prospect of increased use of a bus service that can require a 2.5 hour daily commute entice most of us to leave our existing vehicles behind.
A serious objective analysis of potential alternate routes into Sooke might well prove the case that an alternate route is not realistically viable from a design and expenditure point of view. Our community might have to finally accept this fact and hereafter manage our future transportation infrastructure expectations.
However, there are other significant planning implications that come with this conclusion.
Recognizing access to the community would forever be a limiting constraint then the time to start significantly limiting growth and development is probably now upon us.
Our elected representatives will need to take immediate steps to ensure we cease being one of the fastest growing communities in B.C. The official community plan would need to be changed to reflect that we will seek to sustain our existing quality of life with limited growth and not delude ourselves that there is a realistic expectation that Sooke can develop much more than it now has. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but without a plan for expanded transportation infrastructure we cannot support the current growth trend.