Crashes on the Malahat and Highwy 14 can cause lengthy highway shutdowns. (Black Press Media)

UPDATE: CRD director lobbies for full cellphone service on Pacific Marine Circle Tour

‘Critical to highway safety,’ says Mike Hicks

Vancouver Island’s Pacific Marine Circle Tour might be a relaxing and beautiful drive – but a local politician says the highway’s lack of cellphone service also makes it dangerous.

The 290-kilometre highway starts and ends in Victoria, with views of the Juan De Fuca, Haro, and Georgia straits. Much of the route weaves through remote wilderness.

Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca’s electoral area director for the Capital Regional District, says more than half of the highway route has no cellphone service.

Hicks concerns heightened recently when the province announced it wouldn’t go ahead with plans for alternative routes for the Malahat highway.

RELATED: No to alternate route

A study, released in December, examined emergency detour routes that can be used when traffic incidents close the Malahat for long periods. Permanent alternate routes were not part of the study’s scope, Janelle Staite, regional deputy director for the B.C. Transportation Ministry, said.

The decision to not go ahead with any new route means in the event of a road closure on either the Malahat Highway or Highway 14, the only alternative route remains is the Pacific Marine Circle.

“If the province is decided on continuing with the Circle route it should ensure that it gets cell service on that route as soon as possible. This is a common sense factor and is critical to the safety of that highway,” Hicks said.

Hicks added he’s working to get that service put into place, but that the assistance of the province would be “hugely beneficial and the responsible thing to do.”

ALSO READ: CRD against alternate route

Any mobile service provider can install new cell sites, which would bring wireless and internet connectivity to the area.

Telus was the only cellphone company to respond to an interview request.

Telus provides wireless service along the between Victoria to Sooke, Victoria to Duncan, and Duncan to Lake Cowichan, and is looking at the possibility of expanding service along Highway 14 between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

“We will continue to explore opportunities to connect more of the highway in this area in the future, working collaboratively with local and provincial authorities,” said Liz Sauvé, a Telus spokesperson.

– with files from Black Press Media



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula business leader calls for education campaign on social distancing

Chamber boss Denny Warner says Sidney demographics make consistent safety protocols necessary

Fish habitat enhancement champions set to start next project in Saanich

The latest stage of restorations to Colquitz Creek runs Aug. 4 to 14

New development will pay homage to fallen World War One pilot

1015 Cook St. will become 28 market rental homes with mural

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

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

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Island youth starts virtual race against racism

Cailyn Collins says people can take part in the cause from anywhere

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Most Read