The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has approved two motions related to highway infrastructure development through CRD lands as an alternate route for the Malahat Highway.
The Board placed itself on record opposing new highway infrastructure development that is open to the public through Sooke Hills Regional Park.
The Board is also in opposition to highway infrastructure development in the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area and the Drinking Water Protection Zone.
The motions were brought forward by the Regional Water Supply Commission and the Parks and Environment Committee after their meetings on February 20 and 27.
“The Board has very carefully considered the motions that were brought forward today,” said CRD Board Chair Colin Plant. “We heard clearly from residents on their concerns of an alternate route through these lands, but will continue to work through this process with our partners at the Province.”
Following the Board decision today, Chair Plant will request a meeting with the Premier to stress the urgency of the situation for residents and the CRD Board. Chair Plant will also write, on behalf of the Board, to the Premier, copying the Ministers responsible for Environment and Transportation as well as Members of the Legislative Assembly representing constituencies on Vancouver Island.
CRD staff was first approached by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) last fall and discussion on the south Island plan and alternate route was held at the CRD Board meeting on November 14, 2018. MOTI launched a southern Vancouver Island transportation strategy by press release on January 9, 2019. The area of focus is existing and future multi-modal infrastructure projects on southern Vancouver Island and will look at current transportation demands and develop a roadmap for future investments across all modes.
The CRD has directed staff to continue to participate on the MOTI working group to evaluate and report back on options for an emergency bypass route for the Malahat section of the Trans-Canada Highway. The planning report will be finalized once both the CRD and the Ministry review and agree on the final content.
A new motion with notice was introduced at the March 13 CRD Board meeting on Transportation Improvements on Highway 1 and Highway 14 Corridors. This motion was referred to the Transportation Committee meeting in April for consideration. The CRD looks forward to recommendations from the Province that will come out of the southern Vancouver Island transportation strategy.