8:00 pm April 1 update: The following was an article that ran on April Fool’s 2018. It was not true. None of it. There were several indicators peppered throughout. First, there is no such thing as a traffic improvement committee. Second, the item was set to be discussed in the future and yet all seven elected officials expressed an opinion on it in the present. Third, all seven elected officials expressed an opinion … to Sooke PocketNews. Bhahahaha! Most of them would never deign to speak with SPN. Lastly, the article’s last sentence mentions April Fools. This, Dear Readers, is the once-a-year piece of Fake News that SPN both writes and publishes.
Possibly in a rush to solve the chronic congestion problem in Sooke, and possibly as an effort to shine before the next municipal election, elected officials will be contemplating two consecutive traffic circles at the next regularly-scheduled traffic improvement committee meeting.
According to their agenda, the District will be considering building one and possibly two new traffic circles, to be constructed over a period of the next three years.
The first one, as contemplated in the Highway 14 improvement plan, is to convert the intersection at Sooke and River Roads into a traffic circle.
“It’s hell—I mean heck—for tourists visiting the potholes or the campground to turn left there and head back to Victoria,” said Councillor Rick Kasper. “There’s not even a traffic light there, you know? Currently, the steady stream of cars forces tourists—and the 23 people who live there—to turn right and drive all the way in to Sooke. I’ve heard people say they use the traffic circle at the malls, you know, to do that u-turn, and bringing that congestion into town just isn’t right to the people living here, paying taxes.”
Councillor Ebony Logins has her eye on a different location, one which puts the students first. She’s arguing for a roundabout at Edward Milne and Sooke Roads. “We have to be mindful of the EMCS students who live in Saseenos and out towards East Sooke, they are my priority,” she said. “Congestion begins at 2:00pm and doesn’t let up until after 6:00pm. That left hand turn makes it difficult for our students to get to their jobs, or to get to their homes and do their homework. Besides, that’s where the new Tim Hortons will be—and the students—and it just makes sense to put it there.”
Councillor Kevin Pearson, who supports development, says he would consider putting in both locations. “The three consecutive traffic circles coming off Pat Bay and going to the airport seem to work quite well,” he mused. “If they can have three in a row in Saanich, surely Sooke can handle two, a kilometer apart.”
Wherever the roundabout(s) go, Mayor Tait suggested they may considering including a fountain with coloured lights and piped music, at the most eastern roundabout. “That would be a warm welcome to Sooke,” she said, adding, “…and, no, we’re not trying to be like Langford.”
Councillor Bev Berger, considering ways to highlight Sooke’s special nature, offered a unique twist. “Perhaps we can pipe in whale vocalizations,” she mused. “That would set us apart.”
Councillor Kerrie Reay said she would prefer to see a roundabout on Wadams Way. “There’s where the Library is,” she said, with much cognizance. “It’s going to become the high traffic area as we progressively shift the town core further away from the seaside.”
Councillor Brenda Parkinson said she doesn’t much care where the roundabout(s) go. “Wherever it goes, I just want to plant some flowers there, and make it pretty for the annual Communities in Bloom competitions. As long as the mess is cleaned up every year before the end of March, they can put traffic circles all the way up Sooke Road and down Otter Point, for all I care.”
An RFP is also expected to be posted shortly, offering roundabout driving seminars for Sooke drivers. The District will be promoting the course with—if Councillor Logins has her way—a significant subsidy for youth. Drivers under 35 will pay only half the tuition. Aprils Fools can sign up for free.