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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artists lined up as Duncan gallery gets ready to reopen

“Our window displays for June showcase the work of some of the Island’s finest artists”

Mary Lowther column: Sometimes life gets in the way of gardening

The cover crop of winter rye still waves at me from the garden

Sarah Simpson Column: Siblings are the best (and the worst, by default)

If my brother-in-law wanted a walk, he was going to have to work for it.

Maple Bay animator helps lead Netflix’s ‘The Willoughbys’

Family comedy with A-list voices has Cowichan Valley ties

CVRD may have to delay 11 capital projects scheduled for 2020

More than 50 of the 81 projects are complete or are schedule for the year

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read