Many Cowichan Lake residents are unhappy at the moving of a local webcam that allows drivers to view road conditions online.
A few months ago, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure moved the webcam from Highway 18 at Hill 60 to the circular route at Mesachie Lake, at the intersection of South Shore Road and Pacific Marine Road.
That move has infuriated many Cowichan Lake residents who claim road conditions were always the worst at the old location and gave drivers the best idea of road conditions along Highway 18 near Lake Cowichan.
“I have nothing against a camera in Mesachie, but the one on Hill 60 was always our go-to one. That is the one that let us know what the worst part of the highway would look like. Absolutely sucks that it is gone,” wrote Amanda Riley Sawatzky on the Gazette’s Facebook page.
“That camera has been a godsend to so many of us over the years. There are also local and out of town sports and school teams that use it to provide a safe travel experience for their members,” wrote Rose Darling, similarly.
The camera is yet to get up and running at the new location.
“I think it shows that whoever is moving the camera isn’t aware how different the weather can be at Hill 60 and how necessary the camera is for people to plan a safe trip down Highway 18 in inclement weather,” wrote Lillian Laird.
“I think that they should have left it where it was because that is a crucial spot in the winter on Highway 18. If it is ugly there I am not going anywhere near the highway. The powers that be could have found the money to put another camera in Mesachie Lake for the circle route turnoff. Don’t cheap out on our safety,” wrote Penny Leach.
“Whoever decided to move the camera never drove Highway 18 in the winter. This is the highest spot and the best location to show road conditions. Why the need for a camera in Mesachie Lake is beyond me,” said John Leach.
The ministry’s reason for the move was that the old camera location was close to the one at Skutz Falls, thus “providing similar information.”
“There can be a big difference between Skutz and Hill 60. I was hoping they would put it near Paldi near a street light so you can see what’s going on before leaving for work in the dark. How about adding another one?” queried Shaunne Rowbottom.
“”It’s defintely not the spot for the camera. Try the bottom of Hill 60 going up thats where we get the most snow,” wrote Leah Toivonen.
Seemingly the ministry is sticking to its guns and won’t be moving the camera back anytime soon.
“There is a highway cam nearby; about 8.5 kilometres (about a six minute drive) from the old Cowichan cam, at Skutz Falls that should give you a fairly good idea of what’s going on the road,” said an email from the ministry.
CVRD Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls) director Ian Morrison seems to think there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
“While I know for sure the old equipment that Mainroad (Highways maintenance contractor) owned at Hill 60 won’t be returning to that location, information I’ve received gives me some hope there will be webcam services at the Hill 60 site in the future, yet just when will be dependent on provincial funding making that a reality,” Morrison told the Honeymoon Bay News.
Webcams illustrating driving conditions can be viewed online at DriveBC’s website.
You can email TRANBMClientRelations@gov.bc.ca or go to http://tranbc.ca/2013/12/06/5-reasons-why-we-moved-that-drivebc-highwaycam/ to voice your opinion.