Saanich can only blame itself for the McKenzie interchange, says head of Greater Victoria builders. (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Builders say Saanich’s opposition to density made McKenzie interchange necessary

Head of Victoria Residential Builders Association defends highway project in wake of criticism

The group representing Greater Victoria builders says Saanich has no right to complain about the McKenzie interchange project.

The Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA) made that claim in a tweet defending the project.

“Project reduces idling [and] fuel use leading to lower [greenhouse gas] emissions,” it read. “Plus we will say what BC [government] can’t. [Saanich] council regularly opposed density, undermining LRT [and] pushed new housing to West Shore, creating need for interchange.”

VRBA’s tweet came after Coun. Judy Brownoff had questioned large infrastructure projects generally and the McKenzie interchange project specifically. The provincial project — which lies within municipal boundaries but outside Saanich’s jurisdiction — has been a point of environmental and economic controversy because of its cost overruns, delays and environmental impact. More broadly, critics say such large projects undermine efforts to fight climate change, a point the public heard earlier this month, when Brownoff criticized the project.

RELATED: Greater Victoria’s McKenzie interchange: a boondoggle in the making?

RELATED: Province rejects McKenzie Interchange criticism

Brownoff said both the provincial and federal government need to do more around transportation and buildings to help reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.

“They have to be more engaged around those high priority areas,” she said. It was within this context that Brownoff criticized the project. “For instance, investing over $80 million on a new interchange, which will create more greenhouse gases, instead of investing it into public transit.”

Casey Edge, VRBA’s executive director, does not buy Brownoff’s critique, contending that Saanich can only blame itself.

“The reason for the traffic and need for interchanges is their [council’s] decades-long voting record [regarding] lack of housing density in their core municipality,” said Edge.

“If you want LRT as some councillors claim, then provide a reason to build it. The Uptown project and Shelbourne [Valley Action Plan] recently passed are insufficient to make up for years of anti-development voting.”

Edge acknowledged that Saanich does not bear sole responsibility, but nonetheless insists that Saanich should have done more to fight urban sprawl. Accordingly, he said it is not appropriate for individual councillors including Brownoff to complain.

“It’s true other core municipalities are also partly responsible, but Saanich is the largest municipality so they can own the majority in keeping with their size,” he said.

The Saanich News has reached out to the District for comment to VRBA’s tweet and will update this story.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Cowichan doctor spurs octogenarian dad to develop low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Graham Brockley takes low-cost ventilator idea to his dad who is trying to develop it to save lives

VIDEO: Man breaks up Saanich road rage fight

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

Saanich man serving life for notorious double murder-for-hire granted day parole

Derik Christopher Lord, convicted in 1992 Huenemann case, fathered a child in custody

EDITORIAL: Social distancing means some sacrifice, please make it

Thank your frontline workers and protect your loved ones, don’t leave home unless you really have to

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Vancouver Island teachers show the love for their students

Virtual message meant to give families hope in uncertain times

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Saanich police arrest suspect in arson spree near Camosun College Lansdowne campus

Calgary man in police custody waiting for a tele-bail hearing, constable says

West Shore RCMP seizes illegal drugs, imitation handguns in Colwood

One man and one woman arrested for weapons-related offences

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Vancouver Island Martin Barre Jethro Tull show rescheduled

New dates set for Victoria and Campbell River are in November

Most Read