EDITORIAL: Let’s get going on interchange

Facebook comment sparks social media debate many weigh in on

In a war of words, it’s hard to say who would win between the populous District of Saanich and the more modest-sized Town of View Royal.

Current and former members of the two councils engaged in such a discussion on Facebook this week, after the political bodies voted to send opposing messages to the Ministry of Transportation over the McKenzie Ave./Trans Canada Highway interchange project.

On Tuesday, View Royal Mayor David Screech’s council endorsed the partial cloverleaf design announced last month by Minister Todd Stone and asked staff to write the province asking them to expedite the project.

The move came less than 24 hours after Saanich council voted in a split decision to give thumbs down on the plan to Stone and ask the province to rethink the design. Reasons included the potential effect of the project on nearby Cuthbert Holmes Park and the lack of a clear easing of vehicle congestion on McKenzie.

Screech, never shy about voicing his opinion – on Facebook or in any other venue – pointed out correctly that no design will please everyone. He added that it’s important to get moving on the project and trust that the environmental due diligence will be done by the province.

At some point the consultation has to end (as it has on this project), otherwise nothing would ever get done, especially no major projects (i.e. sewage treatment) such as this. Saanich residents who worry about the effect on their amenities, rather than stalling the process, should vow to keep the province’s feet to the fire on environmental issues.

At some point people also have to trust their message is being heard. That includes West Shore residents who have been desperately waiting for at least a partial solution to their commuting woes.

We agree with Mayor Screech that it’s time to get moving on this project – it won’t be perfect – and that the people involved will do their best to ensure Stone’s promise of no net loss of park space or habitat is upheld. Rather than focusing on the worst and assuming that will happen, why not look at this project as an opportunity to gain not only a solution to a long-standing traffic problem, but a re-imagined design of a little-used corner of a park?