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

Just Posted

Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

Cop-turned-storyteller reaches back to his past for Tribal Police Files

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

VIDEO: Scorpion found in B.C. woman’s kitchen finds new home in Victoria

The Victoria Bug Zoo welcomed the scorpion on Saturday

B.C. getting less bang for its buck

B.C.’s CPI topped 2.7 per cent in April 2019, compared to two per cent for all of Canada

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read