Call for barriers renewed

A Cowichan Valley mother is renewing her call to increase safety on the Malahat

A Cowichan Valley mother is renewing her call to increase safety on the Malahat after yet another fatal accident on the heavily used highway last week.

Chelsey Dollman runs the Facebook page “Malahat Drive-The accidents have to stop” but her efforts don’t stop at web page administration.

Dollman was front and centre, pushing the provincial government prior to its decision to introduce a two-phased barrier project on half of the Malahat.

She’s remained vocal ever since.

While the province says that work is now complete, Dollman argues the latest death of 33-year-old Saanich man David Paulin last week highlights the need for continued improvements.

“That accident could have been not an accident, or a very minor one if there were barriers there,” she said. “I think we need to continue on with what we’ve been doing otherwise we’re leaving the job half done. It’s really sad to me that unfortunately it takes a tragedy again for them to hopefully open up their eyes. I wish it didn’t take that. I wish they would be proactive instead of reactive.”

Dollman has reached out to MP Alistair MacGregor in the hopes he might be able to help.

“My hope is that if I can get Mr. MacGregor on board with me then we can, together, keep pushing and work on getting those barriers,” she said.

“I need somebody on my side that’s as passionate about this as I am because it’s a big issue and it’s just tragic to me that this road continues to kill people whether they’re bad drivers or not. The innocent people are usually the ones who end up on the bad side.”

Some people on her Facebook page blame the drivers, not the road, she admitted.

Dollman doesn’t deny driving behaviour plays a role in many of the crashes.

“I’m not denying that there are bad drivers out there, but unfortunately if we just keep saying it’s the drivers and don’t do anything about the road, we’re really missing the mark,” she said. “I would like to stop bad drivers too but I’d also like a million dollars, too, but it’s not going to happen so let’s work with what we have.”

Last week Transportation Minister Todd Stone told the Times Colonist more barriers are on the way. “My hope would be that we would be able to move forward with the installation of more barriers certainly within the next year. The vast majority of what’s left on the Malahat we think is a good candidate for median barrier, and we’re going to put median barrier down as fast as we can.”

Dollman hopes he keeps his word.