Falaise Community Association directors Stuart Macpherson, Bob Lucy, and Mac Nanton would like to see a wall along the eastern edge of Highway 17 to screen out highway noise. (Black Press File Photo)

Group of Saanich residents want a noise wall, but who will pay?

Noisy highway irks Falaise community residents

Members of Saanich’s smallest neighbourhood association have a solution for a pair of big problems.

On Monday night Saanich council supported Falaise Community Association’s request to send a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about a the ongoing disruption of highway noise that cascades into Falaise, which lies on the northeast corner of Royal Oak Drive and the Pat Bay Highway.

With Saanich council’s recognition of the problem in writing (both the highway noise and Falaise Road parking issues have long been identified in the Royal Oak local area plan), president Bob Lucy of the Falaise Community Association believes that the group can move forward in applying for various grants to pay for a sound barrier.

READ MORE: Saanich neighbourhood wants to muffle highway noise

“Parking is also a problem along Falaise, for numerous reasons, mostly during funerals,” Lucy said. “We’re trying to tie together the parking problem to see if we can get that addressed too.”

The parking problem is based on the narrowness of Falaise and the two funeral services at Royal Oak Burial Park, First Memorial and the McCall Bros.

READ MORE: Saanich postpones rezoning for subdivision over Garry oak trees

READ ALSO: Saanich residents revive Falaise Park with community party

”They are some of the better used funeral services in the region,” Lucy noted. “Unfortunately Falaise road is not able to handle overflow parking. It’s narrow in places, there’s not a lot of shoulder and it creates single lane traffic that combines with a lack of vision from the bottom and the top of the hill.”

There have been multiple close calls and one car crash there that Lucy is aware of.

As for a sound barrier, there are plenty of examples of them along the Pat Bay Highway and also brand new ones going up along the Trans Canada Highway at the McKenzie Interchange.

Saanich Coun. Colin Plant lives nearby in Royal Oak and says he’s generally supportive of the sound barrier.

“There are other areas in Saanich and the region that have these sound walls,” he said.

The issue is who would pay for the wall.

Lucy is aiming for grants, such as Canada’s 2014 New Building Fund, and believes Saanich could come away without having to pay for much of the sound barrier at all.

“I think this aligns with what the New Building Fund was created for,” Lucy said.

Plant said that since it’s a provincial highway the province should contribute something and that as an individual member of council he would be willing to look at Saanich contributing.

reporter@saanichnews.com


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