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Cadboro Bay looking at 2 years of roadworks in major facelift

Long-awaited redesign of Sinclair Road expected to eventually make life better for visitors and residents

Sometime in the near future University of Victoria students will have an easier trip to the beach — but it is likely to get more difficult before is gets better.

After many years of pushing and prodding by the local community, Saanich is finally fixing up Sinclair Road between the university and Cadboro Bay. The project is expected to take up to two years to complete.

“It's been a long time coming,” said Eric Dahli, former president of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association. “The Residents Association has been working diligently for this for for a number of years.” 

Dahli — who has lived in the area for almost 50 years — said the hill portion of the road has gained the nickname of “The Goat Trail,” with the only sidewalk being a gravel path on one side, no bike lanes on either side, and plentiful potholes running up the centre where vehicles travel.

The planned work will install sidewalks, protected bike lanes, three pedestrian crossings and a mini roundabout at the intersection with Cadboro Bay Road. The district has contracted Donn Mann Excavating Ltd. to do the work. 

“There's lots of good features to it that will make the village area look a lot better,” said Brian Dunn, who owns the local Smugglers’ Cove Pub.

Dunn and others are quite happy to see the upgrades finally getting underway, even if they are a bit apprehensive about how long the road could be torn up for.

“In the long run, it'll be an excellent solution for the for the area,” said Scott Zaichkowsky, longtime manager of the Pepper’s Foods grocery store. “I think in the interim, it's gonna be a lot of growing pains.”

Zaichkowsky hopes this will eventually bring more students to his store and the neighbouring shops.

“It'll definitely be more user friendly,” he said. “Hopefully driving more traffic from UVic up the hill, down to the beach or village.”

Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock highlighted both the safety and aesthetic improvements in a phone call with Black Press Media on Monday (June 10).

“This has been a much anticipated project,” he said. “When it's completed, it'll be a much more pleasant and safer experience for everybody using Sinclair.”

Pre-work is already beginning this month and crews are scheduled to be onsite sometime around the end of June to the beginning of July, according to a district spokesperson. The work is anticipated to take between 18 and 24 months.

In addition to the road surface upgrades, plans include replacing 1,100 metres of water main, 300 metres of sewer and 500 metres of storm drain, while also doing landscaping work on the sides of the road and relocating utilities.

It is the adding in of this underground work that is making the project take so much time, and with the work going on for as long as it will, some locals are getting a bit concerned about the impact on their lives.

“I'm just a bit concerned about getting to and from anywhere myself personally,” said Tara McHugh, who manages the Smugglers’ Bar and lives halfway up the hill. “Getting in and out of the driveway if I need to go somewhere.”

But McHugh and others are still happy to see it happen so they can stop beating up their cars hitting potholes and patch-worked pavement, and maybe eventually see some increased business. 

As long as they can get through the difficulties of the construction phase.

An email from Barry Andruschak, the current president of the Resident’s Association, said the group has looked at the plans and believe it to be a well-designed project that will benefit the community in the end. 

The Association’s vice-president Nina Sutic Bata is herself an engineer with the City of Victoria and relayed her approval of the design through Andruschak, as well as the need for — and the difficulty of — upgrading the underground infrastructure.

“She confirmed that it is much needed and will hopefully last at least 80 years,” Andruschak wrote.

About the Author: Mark Page

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