The lineup at the Brentwood Bay ferry terminal stretched to the West Saanich Road roundabout on May 24 following a fuel truck rollover on the Malahat which closed the road until midnight. (Hugo Wong/News Staff file)

MLA prefers more ferries over bridge for Saanich Inlet

Increased car traffic could overwhelm Pat Bay, says Olsen

After a May 24 collision on the Malahat between a fuel truck and a van, traffic was delayed for around 14 hours, sending motorists scrambling for alternatives like the Brentwood Bay ferry. After the incident, Premier John Horgan mused about the possibility of a bridge across the Saanich Inlet as one possible solution.

As transportation critic, Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen has heard the argument for a bridge, but in an interview with the PNR, he says it would take too long, cost too much, and might not solve the problem.

“Why would we be looking at the engineering, the billions of dollars to build a bridge that might be 10 years away,” asked Olsen, “when we could solve the problem in the very short term by supporting either a public, public-private, or private passenger ferry service and provide the transit on either side to support that?”

Transit on either side of the ferry service, was important, he said, so people could have an alternative instead of driving their car down the Malahat. He said people should be cautious about adding lanes to highways and building bridges, because additional vehicle traffic could overwhelm the existing Pat Bay highway. Instead, Olsen wants to reduce vehicles and have multiple modes of transport (ferries, the Malahat, etc.) to spread the traffic out.

Olsen raised the issue on May 29 in Question Period, where he asked Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, whether the government would investigate ferry services for the Saanich Inlet.

In Question Period, Olsen said a bridge “will be a giant black hole in our budget, increase greenhouse gas emissions and cars on the road and require expensive upgrades to Beacon, Mt. Newton, Keating, Sayward, Haliburton and Uptown.”

In her response, Trevena touted the government’s investments in BC Transit and promised to meet with Olsen on the issue.

Don Tom, chief of Tsartlip First Nation, said in an interview that he had not had serious discussions about a potential bridge.

“For myself, I think [potential plans] are in the early stages,” said Tom.

“We would have to see some environmental assessments and look at potential impacts on the Saanich Inlet before I would seriously consider such a project.”

Like Olsen, Tom also said a bridge might create congestion on Pat Bay highway. That, said Tom, would require studies by the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

He said whatever the solution, long-term certainty was key.

“People don’t change their behaviour unless they have the certainty that transportation option will be there,” said Olsen.

Just Posted

Fulfilling a lifelong dream of flight

97-year old will fly a plane for the first time

Get ready for the 39th annual Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Up to 9,000 particpants are anticipated for this year’s three-day race weekend

Impaired driver crashes into Victoria police vehicle, injures officer

Cook Street collision occured in the early morning hours of Tuesday

Plaque that replaced Macdonald statue at Victoria city hall vandalized

Less than 24 hours after plaque was installed, an ‘X’ had been scratched through the centre

UPDATE: Motorcyclist involved in Cook Street crash dies

A serious crash sent two to hospital on Monday night

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Most Read