Transportation minister doesn’t rule out alternate for Malahat that would cut through watershed

Transportation minister doesn't rule out alternate for Malahat that would cut through watershed

WATCH: Speakers lined up to give local politicians an earful Wednesday afternoon at the CRD Water Commission meeting. They’re concerned about the location of a potential alternate route to the Malahat highway. The provincial government is currently exploring several options, including one that cuts right through the region’s watershed. Mary Griffin reports.

There was a packed house at the Capital Regional Water Commission meeting, with speaker after speaker expressing that no public road should go through Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park.

The province is currently studying options for the Malahat in the event of an emergency.  One option is the Niagara Main bypass, which would cut through Sooke Hills Regional Park and the watershed. That plan doesn’t wash here with CRD Water Commissioner Jeremy Loveday.

“Today there is a motion to the regional water supply commission, asking the commission to go on record opposing highway construction through the water supply area,” Loveday said. “And I think this is very important as we need to protect our water supply for generations to come.”

Fellow commissioner, and local CRD director for Juan de Fuca, Mike Hicks echoed those concerns.

“There are many on the CRD, myself included, that do not want it going, if possible, through the watershed, or the parks.”

Significant closures in the past year on the Malahat have led to pressure on the NDP to act. But the minister is not ruling out an unpopular option.

“We’re stuck, literally, between a rock and a hard place. We know that people want, desperately, an alternate route for the Malahat for emergencies. Just for emergency periods. Our staff have been talking to the CRD about potentially using that,” Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said.


Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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