Rumble in the Vale: Strawberry Vale homeowners hang banner protesting construction noise, rumbling

Banner reading ‘Do you hear what we hear?’ hangs over Colwood Crawl

The constant noise and ground-shaking from the work of the McKenzie interchange project has homeowner Stacey Rumsby at her wit’s end.

The Rumsbys live on the end of Grange Road, bordering the relocated Galloping Goose and overlooking the highway and the construction. Their property used to be buffered from the Trans Canada Highway by two rows of trees but is now in plain view from the highway.

Rumsby said the night blasting, the round-the-clock clang of shovels against rock and the constant whirring, roaring and shudder of trucks and machines moving back and forth along the site make it hard for her, her husband and daughter to sleep.

“There’s no sleep,” said Rumsby, still in her pajamas and sleepy-eyed at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning. “Your chair rumbles beneath you, the bed shakes. It’s taken an emotional, mental and physical toll.”

To that end, Rumsby took it upon herself to hang a giant banner from her deck on Dec. 10.

It reads, ‘Do you hear/see/feel what we hear/see/feel?’, and is visible to drivers on the TCH.

Originally the banner carried a satirical feel with Christmas lights and as a play on a Christmas song. But the cheer of the holidays are gone, and the banner’s message is no laughing matter to those who live in the neighbourhood.

See: McKenzie interchange finish delayed until summer 2019

“Before the construction there was basically two rows of trees between us and the highway,” Rumsby said. “There was traffic noise but it’s not comparable to what we have now.”

Rumsby, who is self employed, said she often catches up on sleep during the day. She’s posted social media videos of an excavator banging rocks off the side of the cliff by her house at 3 a.m. She said she’s talked to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI), to the project managers themselves, and to her local MLA Lana Popham. But she also knows there is little that can be done without delaying the work, though she never thought it would be this loud.

On the nights there is blasting, Rumsby’s husband sends her out of the house.

There are other neighbours who are affected, but the Rumsby’s home, which is the closest house to McKenzie, might be the most affected of them all.

Intermittent blasting on the McKenzie interchange project initially started on Nov. 18, 2016. Blasting is now happening at two spots, alongside the highway west of McKenzie Avenue, and on McKenzie Avenue north of the highway, until the spring, according to MOTI.

“The ministry understands all construction projects of this size can be noisy and disruptive at times. The contractor schedules their work to complete as much of it as possible during the day but is allowed to work overnight – in fact some activities have to be done at night,” said a MOTI statement.

Blasting is only allowed between 8 and 10 p.m. but lane closures extend past 10 p.m. while crews clean up the rock.

Residents can share their questions, concerns or complaints about noise or other issues by calling 250-387-8700 or emailing mckenzieinterchange@gov.bc.ca.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Workers install stakes along the edge of the temporary Galloping Goose trail where rock and land was blasted away to expand the highway eastbound from the McKenzie interchange. A banner protesting the noise and shaking from the McKenzie interchange construction (below) hangs from a house on the end of Grange Road. Travis Paterson/News Staff

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