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

Colwood, Esquimalt mayors support potential passenger commuter ferry

Mayors Rob Martin and Barb Desjardins hopeful study will continue

Juan de Fuca curlers ‘reeling’ after learning rink will be replaced with dry floor

West Shore Parks & Recreation board says curling rinks not getting enough use

Early indications say allergy season could be milder this spring

The Aerobiology Lab collects pollen samples from across Canada to help make predictions

Spring equinox welcomed by final super moon of 2019

Spring has sprung and did you catch that moon

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

View Royal council to discuss proposed 3.5% tax increase tonight

Budget open house to directly precede the council meeting

40 records broken across B.C. as hot streak continues

Abbotsford hottest spot in Canada on Tuesday

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vancouver driver ticketed twice within 6 minutes for same offence

The man was written up by two different officers for using an electronic device

B.C. teacher reprimanded after incident with Grade 11 student in school gym

Gregory Norman Brock was teaching at a high school in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District

B.C. man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says Parksville official

Most Read