A group on Facebook is calling for a section of the Malahat to be named Patterson Pass in honour of former Malahat Fire Chief Rob Patterson. (Photo contributed)

Call to rename part of Malahat in honour of former Fire Chief Rob Patterson

Fire chief pushed for safety improvements before his death in 2017

Rick Stiebel/News staff

It’s only fitting that part of the Malahat be named in honour of the man who lobbied for improvements on that well-travelled, much-discussed section of the Trans-Canada Highway, says a frequent user of the roadway.

Jean McMillan approached the Ministry of Transportation this week about naming the section of roadway between Aspen Road and the Shawnigan Lake exit as Patterson Pass to recognize the efforts of former Malahat Fire Chief Rob Patterson, who died in January 2017. Patterson had been a vocal advocate for many years for the safety improvements completed this week.

READ MORE: Malahat fire chief’s safety legacy will continue

“It started with a casual mention on Facebook with the Malahat Discussion Group at the onset of the project because Rob worked so hard for the safety improvements,” said McMillan, who lives near Aspen Road and uses the road frequently. “There was a fair amount of approval within the discussion group at the time.”

McMillan followed up on the idea last week, and someone in the discussion group suggested getting the green light from Patterson’s wife, Tanya, would be appropriate out of respect. “Tanya said the idea was awesome,” McMillan said.

RELATED: Another Malahat crash and closure renews median call

Although she never met Patterson, McMillan was familiar with him through social media and media coverage. “I used to follow him on Twitter for road conditions and weather information on the way to work every day,” she explained. “He would tweet information out in the interest of safety for others. He was a tireless advocate,” she said. “Renaming that stretch Patterson Pass or allocating a sign would be a nice way to acknowledge his efforts. I think the improvements are very good. The centre medians and new surface provide peace of mind. Anyone who uses the Malahat frequently will notice the changes and feel it’s better.”

The Ministry of Transporation and Infrastructure confirmed it had received one request from a single individual suggesting renaming a stretch of Highway 1 to Patterson Pass. It said in a statement that “The ministry welcomes input from all residents and stakeholders, and we take suggestions into consideration in our planning processes.”

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