McTavish Road Interchange Update

At the request of Mayor Alice Finall, planning and transportation representatives from the Provincial Government attended a meeting on April 29th at our Municipal Hall to update Sidney and North Saanich Mayors, their Council members and their staff on the proposed McTavish Road Interchange project, due for completion in early 2011. North Saanich and Sidney share significant concerns about the current interchange and "fly over" design.

The major concern is the potential loss of McTavish Road as a connector to Lochside and ultimately to the Sidney core. Mayors Finall and Cross expressed, on behalf of their constituents, what a mistake the Province would be making if it proceeded with a design that eliminated connectivity for McTavish Road. The Mayors suggested that with the closure of McTavish Road, serious traffic implications for local traffic patterns in each of their municipalities would negatively impact Beacon Avenue, Canora Road, East Saanich Road and Amity Road, at the very least.

When the Provincial government representative indicated that these issues might be outside his scope, I stated that what was outside his scope was definitely inside ours -- in other words, our residents from Sidney and North Saanich would have to live with the results and our municipal governments would be left "holding the bag" if serious traffic issues were created and left unresolved by the Province.

As many of us pointed out at the meeting, whatever is built at the intersection will be there for at least 60 years so it would be prudent for the Province to "get it right" the first time. The Province is holding an Open House in mid-June so I encourage everyone to watch for the details, either on this blog and/or on the websites for North Saanich and Sidney.

What makes this whole project particularly challenging for municipal government is the fact that we are not making any financial contribution to the interchange project; therefore, our ability to control or have influence over the planning process may be somewhat limited. But that certainly doesn't mean we will sit quietly on the sidelines -- today's meeting made it clear to the Province that North Saanich and Sidney want to be active planning partners in whatever final design is chosen for the McTavish Road site. We have asked for regular, weekly communication with the Province during the planning and design phases, beginning immediately. We have stressed the importance of public consultation, given the public's keen interest in this project.

I will keep you updated on this project and provide as much information as often as I can -- stay tuned and if you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

May 26 - There is an editorial in the Times-Colonist today regarding the McTavish Road Interchange. It's worth a read and can be found at: