A Sooke and Juan de Fuca Working Group hope to drive provincial attention onto Highway 14 through a social media campaign using the hashtag #DividedBy14. Making Highway 14 safer, and making Sooke more accessible to other municipalities in the CRD, has been talked about for years; yet, very little has been done. This group, comprised of Scot Taylor, Jeremy Wilson, David Evans, Randy Clarkson, and Doug Wittich, hopes to change that by inviting as many people as possible to participate with this #DividedBy14 campaign.
“The Sooke and Juan de Fuca region has had the rehabilitation of Highway 14 as a primary objective for decades,” reports Scot Taylor, owner of the Stickleback West Coast Eatery located on Highway 14, “and it’s time we got together to make some noise for the Government of British Columbia to invest the funds needed to make it safe, accessible and hassle free.”
Taylor and other Sooke business owners and residents have gathered together to address a number of outstanding issues in the community and region. They are a working group at which issues and opportunities are discussed and the means to ensuring that the subjects get resolved are explored and acted upon. At a recent meeting, they discussed how best to make some noise so that all candidates would commit to ensuring that the rehabilitation of this rural arterial highway gets done in the near future.
“We are sensitive to the friends and families that have lost loved ones on this highway, so we sought a way that we could raise a ruckus and still be respectful of the memory of those that have been injured or lost their lives,” stated Jeremy Wilson, co owner of Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours,” I have an archive of letters and correspondence to local and Provincial government that span the last four decades that my family keeps, on efforts to get the highway fixed. This has to be done now and with respect.”
The discussion revolved around safety issues, being cut off from the rest of the region, accessibility and eliminating challenges for residents and visitors alike.
“Going social media is a no-brainer. We have no budget and we are an independent group of Sooke taxpayers, so the best way to make some noise is through social media. Hash tag #DividedBy14 is a rallying point for Sooke residents and others to post a number related to the highway,” said David Evans, owner of The Stick in the Mud Group, “we are challenging anyone who uses this highway to post pictures with a number that relates to the highway. I have a customer who will post a picture of himself and his dogs with a piece of paper with the number 38 – the number of Saturdays he used the road last year to get to Sandcut beach. It can be anything. Find a number that relates to your experience on Highway 14 and post to social media with #DividedBy14”.
Taking selfies with friends, family, coworkers is easy. Then you can post it to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media sites. More than 60 community organizations and institutions will be contacted and challenged to exceed each other in having Members post their Numbers on the highway.
“It would be good if the members of the Sooke Community Development Association could use their equipment parked on private property to hoist their numbers into the air for this campaign,” stated Randy Clarkston, partner in West Coast Design, “all builders, developers, and contractors that take this highway to work every day, six days a week, can find interesting ways to visibly hoist their Numbers to help the community understand why it’s important to get this done. It must be done in a safe way so that we don’t create more incidents than we already have.”
Members of the Sooke and Jun de Fuca Working Group have attended Provincial party campaign office openings for Cathy Noel [L], John Horgan [NDP] and Brendan Ralfs [G] to brief them into the Highway 14 By The Numbers Challenge. The Working Group hopes to see these candidates for the Provincial Election demonstrate their numbers as well.
“I don’t know how to use a hash tag,” admitted Doug Wittich, owner of Wittich Environmental Services Ltd., “so I am hoping there are some crafty bloggers from our schools that might show me how to get this done.”
This leg of the campaign will run until May 10th 2017 and the Working Group will review progress made by the Campaign. Members of the Group fully expect to sustain a longer-term campaign until the work is done to overcome how they are #DividedBy14 #BCPoli #BCLeg #YYJ #Westshore #YVR #BCLiberals #BCNDP #Green2017