Local group wants a sound barrier constructed along the Pat Bay Highway

Residents of a bedroom community near the Pat Bay Highway -- are hoping to have some peace and quiet soon.

A nearly one-kilometer sound barrier wall is under consideration. It would stretch along the Pat Bay Highway between Royal Oak Drive, and the north end of Falaise Drive.

The Falaise Community Association made a pitch to Saanich Council on Monday to build a sound barrier along the stretch of Highway 17.

Councillor Judy Brownoff says the community is fed up with the noise.

"This happens to be an area that, over time, the increase of traffic noise and the design of the traffic at the time, has created this unbelievable noise into that area.  And, you know, we talked about planting trees or a green wall, but what the community is saying is it's impacting them."

The president of the Falaise Community Association, Bob Lucy, says the noise is a multi-faceted detriment.

"It disturbs people's sleep, it detracts from their enjoyment of their yards. A lot of people complain about the noise even indoors. And then there's also problems with real estate transactions, there's been a couple of houses in the neighbourhood that have not sold and for a long time the reason has been because prospective buyers think it's too noisy to move here."

Lucy says that the highway has become much busier and noisier in the last 20 years, adding that if the highway were to be built today, there absolutely would be noise barriers installed.

Brownoff adds that although the group wants a real wall, and not bushes or a natural barrier, it doesn't mean it will be an eyesore for commuters.

"I've seen other areas where they've grown plants up the wall. These walls are not uncommon, they're all over the province."

The Falaise Community Association created a petition to in 2018 to build the noise wall, which about 86% of the neighbourhood residents signed. They are proposing that Saanich ask the province to use funds from the 2014 New Canada Building Fund, which has been earmarked by the government to address issues of safety and accessibility to areas, as a potential way to fund the wall.

Saanich council supported the idea, and will write a letter to the province, the Ministries of Transportation and Environment, and local MLA's, asking to build the noise barrier along the highway.

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