CFB Esquimalt schedule changes impacting traffic

Police, residents seeing more motorists on Esquimalt roads at quitting time

A recent change to the work schedule of naval fleet personnel at CFB Esquimalt is churning out more late afternoon traffic onto Esquimalt streets, say some concerned residents.

Changes made by the head of the West Coast navy, Rear Admiral Nigel Greenwood prevent ship commanders from letting personnel leave work early, such as at 3:30 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., and from giving them “sliders” or Friday afternoons off.

The change ensures crew members are onboard to receive maintenance personnel who need to access the vessels, especially with the fleet entering a busy maintenance period, said Lt.-Cmdr. Nathalie Garcia, navy spokesperson.

“It affects closer to 1,000 (civilian and military personnel) that could at any one time have taken advantage of (sliders and early dismissals),” said Garcia. “For the vast majority of the workforce, it was the exception rather than the rule.”

Since that change came into effect Dec. 5, some Esquimalt residents have seen an increase in late afternoon traffic in the township, notably on Lyall Street and Old Esquimalt Road.

“What I have never, in my 18 years of living here, noticed … is Lyall Street backed up from the base to Macaulay school going towards (Victoria),” said Meagan Brame, owner of Saxe Point Day Care and an Esquimalt councillor.

“From 4:15 to about 4:45 p.m., it’s bumper to bumper. I don’t think it lasts more than half an hour, but I can’t get off my street (Joffre Street south) onto Lyall,” she said, adding the parents of children at her daycare have also noticed the increase.

“You can’t all of a sudden shove another 500 or 1,000 people on the road and say it’s not going to make a difference,” Brame said.

Officers based at the Victoria Police Department’s West Division in Esquimalt have also seen a recent spike in traffic.

“We haven’t received any complaints but we certainly are alive to the issue, and we will be talking to the military if anything does come up and work with them for any solutions,” said Const. Mike Russell, VicPD spokesperson.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins hasn’t heard anything conclusive suggesting the change to the base schedule has boosted traffic levels at the end of the day, “other than when it gets tightened up, it gets tightened up significantly.”

But she said it will be important to monitor the flow of traffic, especially when Craigflower Bridge is eventually replaced and in the event of a hiring boon in 2012 at Victoria Shipyards at the Esquimalt graving dock.

An influx of more motorists on the road at the same time of day might “be the push that people need to say, ‘Ok, we need to deal with this,’” Brame said, adding that signals the urgency for a more proactive regional approach to address transportation woes in Greater Victoria.

“This is way bigger than Esquimalt.”

Just Posted

Sidney Mounties and Saanich PD nab break and enter suspect

Police forces work together to arrest and charge Saanich resident

Queue up a playlist of Victoria musicians

Local guitarist, Cody Rueger, creates playlist to highlight Victoria’s music scene

IKEA offers free meatballs, travel expenses in search for ‘happiness consultant’

Job opening to spend two weeks in Denmark finding the key to a happy home

Sooke club gets kicks out of karate

Sooke Martial Arts Association provides unique sports outlet

‘Cats fend off Elks to move into a tie for first in division

Victoria HarbourCats take their sixth win in eight games

VIDEO: B.C. First Nation plans to launch legal challenge after Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan says he’ll continue to defend the B.C. coast

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

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

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

B.C. auditor says Indigenous grad rate highest ever but education gaps exist

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools has hit its highest level ever

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

BREAKING: Forest fire on North Island disrupts Hwy. 19

Wildfire has reached .25 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service

Most Read