Open letter from Michael Doerfler, originally submitted as feedback to the Ministry
I attended your open house for Hwy 14 at EMCS last night in Sooke.
My immediate thought was that I was very disappointed to see such so little plans to the future of Hwy 14 when we have been waiting two years for this “Hwy 14 Corridor Review” report. There were only 16 boards in the room; I was expecting to see a detailed report after two years of waiting. I felt so underwhelmed. It definitely gave me the impression that no one cared about us.
The highway between Langford and Sooke connects two of the fastest growing communities in the province to each other. Yet, almost nothing has really been done in terms of adding new passing lanes, widening or anything quite “significant” in the last six years, other than the drainage improvement in front of West Coast Tire or the roundabout in Sooke before this year’s flurry of many small improvements. This year’s announcement of these small road projects is a nice start but we must see many more big concrete and real solutions especially for the long term plans.
I was extremely frustrated to see there was nothing significant about long term goals, like either a four-lane Highway 14 all the way, or a new highway. It was considered to be a “pipe dream” by one of your Ministry representatives.
I asked about which option would be cheaper, “to four-lane the current Highway 14 or to build a new highway route?”
“A new highway would be cheaper.”
“Okay so why don’t we do that? Why are we not building for the future? It’s cheaper to build now than it is to build later.”
(Silence and no further comment by Ministry representative.)
Even Langford mayor Stew Young slammed this pending Hwy 14 Corridor Review months ago saying, that it’s a waste of time.
[In the Times Colonist,] Langford Mayor Stew Young likened the road between Langford and Sooke to the Malahat, and said the only real solution to fixing it is to make it four lanes the entire way. ‘There’s only one way in, one way out,” Young said. “My frustration now is, when can we get the study done so we can actually get shovels in the ground and get things working?” “We need to do it now, in light of the last tragedy…there’s been a lot of dialogue on that on social media. Let’s get this thing done.” He said the highway is now so busy that without improvements, like the widening and medians introduced on the Malahat Highway, that it has become the most dangerous road on Vancouver Island. “I think we’ve had more accidents and more deaths [on Highway 14] than we have on the Malahat in the last two years.”
Sooke’s mayor agrees with Young [CTVNews], saying a reliable corridor is necessary for the community to grow.
Clearly, there are so many more things we need in additional to either a four-lane Hwy 14 or a new highway route, like paved shoulders along Highway 14 past Grant Rd West to Shirley to start.
Overall, I feel so disappointed in yesterday’s open house, because there is nothing serious being done about the long term plans. Long term plans may take at least 10-15 years from planning, consulting, budgeting and building a new highway route or a four-lane Hwy 14 to the opening day. Sooke’s population is expected to nearly double in the next 25 years! Considering how bad the traffic is today, what will 10 to 15 to 25 years in future with still only a two-lane highway look like?
I’m sorry but are you kidding me?
We need to be proactive and think for the future. Langford and Sooke, through School District #62, are reserving lands for future schools because they anticipate their population bases to explode over the years to come. So if SD62 can plan, get government to buy the lands, and prepare for future new schools, then why can’t the Ministry do the same for the future of a four-lane Hwy 14 or a new highway route too?
Interestingly enough, according to the 2017 traffic stats on BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s website: a checkpoint on Hwy 14 near Humpback Rd and a checkpoint on Hwy 99 aka Sea to Sky Hwy near Cheekye River Bridge show that most of the Sea-to-Sky highway, a four-lane highway, actually has similar traffic volumes like Hwy 14! Hmm, we have similar traffic volumes yet we still only have a two-lane highway … and soon, we will have higher traffic volumes than they do. I don’t think it is a pipe dream, really!
Otter Point BC