Saturday, March 01, 2008

Spencer Road Interchange

I drove up the Malahat to get some rocks for the garden today which meant I had to drive past the site of the protests about the Spencer Road Interchange and the protests against the whole Bear Mountain development aka Skirt Mountain or Spaet.

I had a look, the cutting and work was very well done, certainly of the highest quality. The impact on the environment seems to be minimal and possibly unmeasurable on the macro regional level. The bog was clearly avoided and seems like it will continue fine where it is.

I can understand some of the arguments about not wanting to see more sprawl, but I can not reconcile them with the reality. Bear Mountain is certainly a better use of land than the proposed Westhills. The one reality that needs to be recognized is that we need to build a lot more houses in this region to bring down the price of housing. Houses means the infrastructure for them.

I first moved to Victoria in 1983. At that time there was about 225 000 people in the region, now it is 325 000. This is almost a 50% increase in 25 years. At the same time we have not seen a 50% increase in land with houses on it. Certainly there has been very little development of more blacktop. We have seen only a few kn of freeway like construction in the region and almost no new roads at all other than servicing houses directly within a development.

If the mentality of the 1950s to 70s had prevailed, we would have a freeway from Swartz Bay to downtown and another one from downtown to Duncan.

The reality is that the people are here and they are in cars and they need to be able to get around. The interchange at Spencer road along with four laning the highway to the other side of the Malahat need to occur. The impact on the environment of these actions will be minimal.
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