If you are planning to drive on Highway 19 near Bowser from Sept. 10 to 14, be prepared to take a detour.
A roughly 12-kilometre section of the highway, from Horne Lake Road to the Cook Creek Road turnoff, will be closed between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day to accommodate the filming of Paramount’s live-action/animation hybrid movie “Sonic the Hedgehog.”
Drivers are asked to use Highway 19A (Old Island Highway) during that time period. Traffic control personnel will be along Highway 19 at Cooke Creek Road and Horne Lake Road. There will also be signs along the highway to let commuters know about the road closures and alternate routes.
The Ministry of Transportation is also reminding drivers that the posted speed limit through Bowser’s village centre is 60 kilometres per hour.
In a letter to Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard, mayors in the Comox Valley and Comox Valley Regional District directors in June, Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INFilm) commissioner Joan Miller asked for community support to have scenes for the Sonic movie to be filmed on Highway 19. According to Miller, one of the scenes would involve a pickup truck being chased and the driver being forced to stop on the highway.
“There will be 150 crew as well as many local hire. The local economic impact from this production will be significant,” Miller wrote in the letter.
Comox Valley Regional District’s committee of the whole approved a letter of support on June 12.
In a council meeting on Aug. 7, Courtenay council also supported the request subject to the receipt of an approved Traffic Management Plan and valid Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure permitting.
Filming is set to last one week but is weather dependent. Additional filming could take place on Sept. 18 and 19. The $90-million budget film is slated for a release in November 2019. Directed by the Oscar-nominated Jeff Fowler, it will feature Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz.