Traffic jams on the Malahat have become a regular occurance and have generated calls for an alternate route. But the proposal has also raised environmental concern. (Black Press File)

Saanich diverts decision around Malahat alternative to regional district

Council says it is up to the CRD, not municipality, to take up issue with province

Saanich has informally stated its opposition to an alternative Malahat route cutting through the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area, but held back a motion to address the provincial government.

Coun. Colin Plant, who chairs the Capital Regional District (CRD), said the municipality should raise the issue with the provincial government through the CRD rather than bypass it by writing directly to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI).

RELATED: CRD commission votes against alternate Malahat route through watershed

READ MORE: Watershed concerns prompt opposition to alternate Malahat routes

“I have been on the record saying that we shouldn’t go through the watershed to build it,” he said, adding it would be inappropriate for Saanich to bypass the CRD. “I don’t believe we should be discussing it. It opens us up to a potential situation, where anytime something happens in another jurisdiction, we may want to bypass [regional authorities] and write letters directly to ministers, and I don’t think that this is a good precedent to make.”

The majority of council ultimately agreed with his motion to table consideration of Coun. Nathalie Chambers’ motion objecting to highway construction through both watershed lands and CRD park lands.

Chambers, along with Couns. Rebecca Mersereau and Judy Brownoff, opposed postponement.

Recognizing the hierarchy the government, it is nonetheless important for Saanich to highlight the importance of the regional watershed, Chambers said, noting that an alternative Malahat route cutting through the regional watershed could threaten the provision of drinkwater, one of the municipalities’ key responsibilities.

Mayor Fred Haynes said he too opposes an alternative Malahat route cutting through the watershed. “My concern is the procedural part,” he said.

For Saanich to take up the issue before Wednesday’s CRD board meeting would dilute the work of Saanich’s five CRD directors, he said, adding that the Regional Water Supply Commission had already voted against an alternative Malahat route cutting through the watershed.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

Camosun College shares free design of medical-grade face masks

Manufacturers across Canada, United States and UK have inquired

Greater Victoria gets 13 new handyDART buses to replace aging fleet

Rollout part of nearly 70 new buses across B.C.

Cannabis responsible for higher incomes among Canadian farmers

Without cannabis sales, national crop revenues would have dropped in 2019

North Saanich artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Artist Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Man who bound, murdered Langford teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read