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

Victoria city councillors advocate for better measures to reduce sexual violence in downtown bars

A motion coming to council this week asks for more action from liquor establishments

Downtown Victoria businesses cite parking issues as top challenge

A report put forward by the Downtown Victoria Business Association asked owners for input

Pair of Saanich fires, including one that resulted in a death, remain under investigation

Saanich Fire expect to wrap up investigation into Richmond Road Tuesday

Wind gusts turn away cruise ships from Victoria harbour

Weather conditions make docking difficult for large ships

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read