Generally, communities should be cautious when talk of bypasses comes up.
There can be instances where bypasses, properly done, can be a good idea. Already vibrant, big cities don’t generally need to worry about people not coming into town if they can drive around it, as enough people’s destination is the town itself. And if you don’t allow commercial traffic to migrate to the land along the bypass, as the Island Highway project between Nanaimo and Campbell River proved, exit communities can survive and even thrive.
But routing people out of your commercial district is not usually the greatest idea for you community. Less traffic means less business for most. Traditional bypasses have hurt communities and even killed business districts.
Development of the bypass proposed for Lake Cowichan is different. It could really open up a whole new area for possible residential and industrial development there. It could be a good way to increase the vibrancy of the community, and solve some problems with truck taffic — which is mostly not stopping in town anyway — at the same time.
Cowichan Lake is a growing area. More people moving in will mean more people heading into the Town of Lake Cowichan to patronize local businesses. The community would want to see development along this new roadway, with other roads springing from it as time goes on. The desire would be to see people living and working along the new road.
While any actual construction is still a long way into the future, if it goes ahead, the interest in the project from government and other stakeholders is a good sign.
Speaking of roads, we’d still like to see another roadway opened up from Cowichan Lake to Port Alberni. Such a connection could only be a good thing for both communities.
Oh well, one thing at a time.