The good news is that logic may already have prevailed and the idea is dead.
We’re not sure whose idea it ever was to propose making the Trans Canada Highway between Victoria and Nanaimo an expressway, but we can only imagine they’ve never actually travelled the route.
Such a designation, apart from the disaster it would amount to for local businesses because of the restrictions on signs on an expressway, simply makes no sense in terms of speed, either.
The TCH goes right through the City of Duncan, lined on both sides with businesses.
Further, a 50 km/h speed limit, numerous traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, not to mention the volume of traffic, ensure that there’s nothing quick about travelling this stretch of blacktop. Anyone who’s ever tried to get through Duncan on a Friday afternoon in the summer knows full well that to call it an expressway is ridiculous.
That’s not to dismiss the subject of the signs along the highway and what it would mean to basically have to remove them all.
This would be a death knell for
many of our Cowichan Valley businesses, from Ladysmith to Mill Bay.
We’ve become well-known for our numerous wineries and agribusinesses, but if people can’t find them, look for all that hard work at promotion to go right down the tubes.
The highway’s function is to get people from one place to another at a relatively high rate of speed.
Plenty of folks from the Cowichan Valley use it to get to Nanaimo and Victoria.
But plenty of people count on it as a way to get people from Victoria and Nanaimo to here,
as well. It’s a bit insulting for the Cowichan Valley to be considered simply a place to get people to speed through at the greatest possible rate.
On the contrary, we wager that folks in Cowichan want people to stop and patronize our businesses – even stay a while. We’ve got lots to offer, from great food and wine to unique artisans and experiences.
Designating the highway an expressway would essentially encourage people to bypass our communities.
That’s a knife in the heart of our tourism industry.
As important as it is to let people know where they can next fuel up, it’s equally important to let people know where they can turn off to get to Merridale Cider, Hilary’s Cheese, or the Chemainus Theatre Festival.
We cringe at the idea of municipal governments trying to decide which businesses will take the limited number of spots on their entry signs, and who will be out of luck. Yikes.
An expressway defies logic, and the will of the community at the same time. A regular highway is good enough for us, and we dearly hope that’s the new plan.