Put climate up front with large scale projects

Re: “Saanich councillor questions project’s environmental impact” (Saanich News, Aug. 31, 2016)

Re: “Saanich councillor questions project’s environmental impact” (Saanich News,  Aug. 31, 2016)

I was pleased to read that Councillor Vic Derman had put forward a motion before council in which he outlined six points that mayor and council could send to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) with regard to the environmental impacts the intended partial cloverleaf will have on Cuthbert Holmes Park and the Colquitz River estuary. Since this is such a large infrastructure project I was surprised to learn there has been little or no communication as to the effects between MOTI and Saanich (mayor, councillors, advisory committees, staff) during the whole process. I was further dismayed to learn that only one councillor supported Derman’s motion at the Aug. 22 council meeting.

In the last paragraph of an Aug. 17, Saanich News article it is stated that MOTI “continues to work collaboratively with the community and all stake holders involved in the project….” I would be interested to know who the ministry is working collaboratively with. I know the ministry isn’t working with anyone interested in limiting the impacts of the partial cloverleaf, for example the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association, or The Friends of Cuthbert Holmes Park.

Marigold and Spectrum Schools will be losing the buffer of mature Garry oaks that separates them from the highway, and it is my understanding that parents and staff connected to those schools do not feel included in this “collaboration.”

No one can argue that the McKenzie-Admiral’s intersection isn’t a problem. However, at a time when climate change should be on everyone’s mind when it comes to large-scale, long term public projects ($85 million worth of taxpayer’s money), I find it incredible that this is the only solution to be reached in terms of how to solve this traffic situation. We are just about to make it easier for one-passenger per vehicle traffic to proliferate. Not only will the construction and final footprint of the cloverleaf cause irreparable damage to the park and river estuary, these cars will now be idling up on the cloverleaf as they wait for the light at McKenzie and Burnside–spewing exhaust over the area.

In a world where we are constantly seeing more dramatic weather events due to human-induced climate change, what do  we need to experience before we “get it.” Maybe it’s just a case of, “It’s not happening to me, so I don’t give a flip.” Well, I do give a flip, even if it’s at the practical level of the fact my home insurance has gone up dramatically the last two years in a row. The explanation given to me is that someone has to pay for the home replacements etc in Calgary and Fort McMurray. We’re all feeling this whether we want to admit it or not.

Lucy Bashford

Saanich

 

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