Cowichan Bay Road needs some TLC, stat

Something clearly needs to be done about the access roads into Cowichan Bay.

Something clearly needs to be done about the access roads into Cowichan Bay.

Our front page shows that you ignore the frequent road closed signs at your peril on Cowichan Bay Road.

Though we don’t presume to know what was going through this particular driver’s mind at the time, we know there are folks in big trucks who like to take those signs as a challenge to the hardiness and off-road capabilities of their engines. They’re the same ones who tend to head out onto the road as soon as it snows. But the fire department really doesn’t want to have to come out and rescue you, so heed the warnings.

But we sympathize with residents who have had to deal with this main access way to the village being closed to traffic because of flooding at least a dozen times this winter.

The closures come and go at such a rate that it’s hard to keep up with when it’s open and when it’s not. Though one can pretty accurately presume that any time it rains more than a thimble-full it will be closed, yet again.

This has been an ongoing problem for years. It’s tied up with the road having been built on the Koksilah River flood plain, a waterway with many side channels that tend to get blocked up for various reasons. In the past, huge log jams have played a key part in water backing up and spilling over onto the pavement.

This winter has been particularly bad.

Then there’s the section of road into the village that’s been half-blocked by several mudslides where an embankment topped with houses is washing down onto the road.

One can see in photos that the bank has been denuded of trees and much of its vegetation, so the slides can’t be that much of a surprise. They are, however, alarming, both to those driving the road and no doubt to those living perched atop the hill.

It’s a lesson that we hope can be taken into the future. We cannot just strip vegetation from hillsides and expect them to stay intact. Nature doesn’t work that way.

We think it’s time for Cowichan Bay residents and our local governments to make some collective noise and get something done.

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