Proposed ‘emergency’ alternative route nothing but a land grab

We need immediate transparency and full disclosure of all details regarding this project

Proposed ‘emergency’ alternative route nothing but a land grab

In January of this year, news broke of provincial government plans to punch an alternate emergency route to the Malahat through protected regional forest lands, primarily the Sooke Hills Wilderness Park. Resistance to this expensive and unnecessary boondoggle from concerned citizens up and down the island has been overwhelming and balloons by the day. From social media blowback and thousands of emails, to phone blitzes and appearances at local council meetings, the message is clear: hands off the forests!

The CRD has heeded this opposition, recognizing that in the midst of a climate emergency and rampant wildfire seasons, we must do all we can to preserve what is left of our regional wilderness areas, so we may pass this legacy on to future generations.

In spite of this, the BC NDP are still bumbling along with studies and reports, remaining tight-lipped about their actual plans, telling us to be patient and to wait for announcements of a roadway project where there has been no consultation with the public or local First Nations. We need immediate transparency and full disclosure of all details regarding this project and who is calling the shots at the table.

They are trying to slip this through as part of their regional transportation plan, but make no mistake — this is not about traffic congestion following a vehicular crash on the Malahat. This is about one giant land grab by developers keen on punching cul-de-sacs through these sacred forests.

One only has to look at the explosive housing surge in the Westhills community of Langford to realize the bulldozers have literally run right up to the boundary of the regional park. Million-dollar lots for sale are popping up like weeds along Goldstream Heights, the favoured starting point of this “emergency” route. It’s easy to see how this slippery slope would quickly lead to demands for a speedier full-time corridor connecting Langford with Shawnigan Lake and points up-island.

I understand frustrations with getting stuck in traffic for hours on end. Nobody wants that, but hey, we live on an island, ferries get cancelled all the time, we learn to deal with certain inconveniences. Does occasional aggravation justify the hundreds of millions wasted or the carnage inflicted in the forests? Massive new highway infrastructure is costed out over decades to justify the expense but we won’t even be moving people around like this in years to come. Public servants must therefore re-focus their efforts on imaginative, environmentally-friendly regional transportation options. No more roads through forests!

If you are unsure about all this, just ask how your grandchildren would respond to destroying forests for another highway. These forests under attack have offered us so much already — from minerals to timber to drinking water. Let’s allow them to now rewild into the old-growth forests of tomorrow.

J. Ocean Dennie

Friends of the Sooke Hills Wilderness

Esquimalt

Just Posted

Options presented for blue-green algae problem in Quamichan Lake

North Cowichan looking for solutions for the deadly algae

Firearm threat in Duncan leads to quick police response

Man taken to hospital without incident

Sangha denied bail in Cowichan confinement case

Sangha’s trial begins in Duncan on Jan.6

Duncan woman shares experiences abroad with Doctors Without Borders

Julia Saurazas works with Doctors Without Borders

Duncan city council declares climate change emergency

“I think sometimes it’s important to start with identifying the fact that something’s real.”

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Surrey court clerk files human rights complaint related to concussion

Deborah A. Ryane claims her employer discriminated against her on basis of mental disability

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Most Read