LETTER: Time to turn off the switch on Saanich’s power outages

Power outages in Saanich are becoming far too commonplace and are a great threat to both life and the lifestyle of residents. Having multiple power outages in the course of a day or two as a result of a storm is outrageous, and totally unacceptable. Saanich council needs to take a break from their obvious mantra of saving trees and buying parks, and, in concert with BC Hydro, deal with matters relating to the health and safety of Saanich residents, and the financial viability of business owners, when electrical power is lost.

RELATED: Power outage affects more than 7,600 people in South Island region

For Saanich residents who depend on electrical power for heat and other important issues, action needs to be taken to deal with a power outage as the emergency it truly is. It is simply not acceptable for residents to be walking around in freezing accommodations, with a flashlight in their pocket, waiting for power to be restored, or for the next windstorm or snowstorm portending the next power outage.

RELATED: Multiple municipalities warn of downed power lines

The vast majority of power outages in Saanich are caused by trees falling over power lines. For all those in the municipality with underground hydro wiring, it is most regrettable that they are at the mercy of the many areas around their neighborhood who do not.

As a matter of priority council should not be awaiting the next storm to bring down trees that create electrical chaos, but should be mandating to staff that any tree in very close proximity to power lines, and within reason, and regardless of type or condition, which has the potential to bring down a power line, must be removed or pruned to a height below the nearest power line. Or allow property owners take on the task.

RELATED: Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

Cordova Bay Road continues to be a major problem area causing power outages, and is a prime example of numerous trees overhanging, in some cases, growing around and through, important power lines. Saanich Road is another major problem area, but there are many others which must be examined on a priority basis.

The fact is that even on somewhat small development areas, we see Saanich placing protective barriers around trees, which will end up in the line of power lines, and end up being extremely close to houses being constructed. How bizarre is that when one is dealing with a serious power outage?

RELATED: Saanich in agreement to purchase Kings Road land for $5.5 million

The fact is that Saanich has enough parks and trees to take us into the future. We need to deal with the here and now and reduce the number of serious power outages plaguing many residents. Get on with the business of dealing with dangerous trees interfering with power lines.

HJ Rice


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