Traffic Noise

Council meeting of April 25, 2022

At the Saanich Council meeting of April 25th, Councilor Brownoff presented a motion recommending that:

“That Council write the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to ask that they re-evaluate the sound impacts from the Patricia Bay Highway traffic on Saanich residents in and around the Falaise Drive area and look to reduce these impacts through sound attenuation techniques.”

FCA president, Stuart Macpherson, and vice-president, Stew Vinnels, spoke in favour of the motion.

The presentations, motion and discussion are available on the video of the meeting:

Stew Vinnel’s presentation is at 0:06:58, Stuart Macpherson’s at 0:12:21 and Councillor Brownoff’s motion at 2:07:00.

The Mayor commented that the timing may be right to make another push for noise abatement along the Highway.

Many of the residences and businesses of the Falaise community are situated close to the Pat Bay Highway and the Royal Oak interchange, as indicated on the maps page. Traffic noise from the Highway and the Interchange affects the quality of life for many residents and disturbs the quiet that would be expected for funeral homes and a cemetery.

Drone video

In the Fall of 2020, we had a drone video taken to help show the relationship between the Pat Bay Highway and the homes on and near Falaise Dr.

Noise wall chronology

Stuart Macpherson, with help from the FCA Directors and local residents, has put together a chronology of the efforts to reduce the effect of traffic noise on residents living on or near Falaise Dr. If you have any suggestions for corrections or additions, please contact Stuart.

Meeting with Mayor Haynes, September 29th, 2020

On September 29th two FCA Directors met with Mayor Haynes and CAO Thorkelsson to discuss the next steps in getting a noise barrier built between our community and the highway. Mayor Haynes committed to work on getting the project into Saanich’s  strategic planning process but was very clear that, even if it gets into the planning process, there will be many budgetary hurdles to overcome before the project can be implemented. We committed to help by preparing a position paper for the mayor to use while promoting the project, to brief/lobby all Councillors and solicit help from our MLA and to help identify possible sources of funding for the project.

FCA presentations to Saanich Council, March 11, 2019

The Council meeting on Monday, March 11, 2019 began with an open forum. During this time, two FCA residents gave three-minute presentations on the effect of traffic noise on the community. This was followed by a formal, ten-minute presentation by the Executive of the FCA on the effect of traffic noise and funeral parking on the community. This is the PowerPoint presentation used by Bob Lucy and Stew Vinnels:

FCA presentation to Council

Bob spoke to the problems and Stew outlined possible options for funding to address the problems. Council discussed the issues and a motion was passed instructing the Mayor to write a letter to the Minister of Highways, the Minister of the Environment and to local MLAs requesting support to get funding from the 2014 New Building Canada Fund or similar programs.

A video of the proceedings is available here:

With regard to the issue of parking for large funerals, Councillor Brownoff asked Saanich Engineering to look into the problem. Engineering suggested that the problem seemed to be one of enforcement, but it is more than this. There is simply not enough parking available near the funeral homes.

Presentation to Saanich Council, March 11, 2019

The FCA has been allocated 10 minutes to make a presentation to Council regarding both a noise wall along the Pat Bay Highway and overflow funeral parking along Falaise Dr and neighbouring streets. A letter has already been submitted (see below) and this is an opportunity for us to make the case in person and for Council to ask questions. The agenda is available here:

This is the PowerPoint slide deck that Bob Lucy and Stew Vinnels will use for their presentation to Council:

FCA presentation to Council

Their presentation is the first item on the agenda for the Council meeting starting at 7 pm on Monday, March 11, 2019.

Letter to the Saanich Mayor and Councillors, February, 2019

Letter from the FCA President, February, 2019

These are some pictures of Pat Bay traffic near Falaise Drive, taken during the fall and winter of 2018-19:

We have obtained traffic statistics for the Pat Bay Highway near the Royal Oak exchange and it is summarized in this graph.  The red line is a linear fit to the data and it shows that the traffic volume increases by about 650 vehicles per day, per year.

An appropriately designed noise wall, between the Highway and Falaise Drive, would significantly attenuate the traffic noise and produce a less stressful environment for residents and visitors to the funeral homes and burial park.

The Honourable Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South, was a guest speaker at the Annual General meeting of the FCA in November, 2017. She was asked about the issue of traffic noise and recommended that we petition the residents of the FCA to better assess the need for noise abatement. The following petition was presented to residents and businesses:


To the Honourable Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South and Minister of Agriculture:

The petition of the undersigned, residents and businesses of the Falaise Community, of the District of Saanich, states that:

Traffic on the Pat Bay Highway at or near the Royal Oak Interchange has grown to where it is now producing unacceptable noise levels, affecting the quality of life and real estate values for the residents living on or near Falaise Drive.

This residential community was established when the Highway was only two lanes. It is now a four-lane, controlled-access highway and traffic volume near the Royal Oak Interchange, built in 1970, has more than doubled, increasing from 27,000 vehicles/day in 1970 to 58,000 in 2016. The Highway was widened and the Royal Oak Interchange was constructed with no noise abatement wall or berm to shield the Falaise Community.

Your petitioners respectfully request that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure:

In co-operation with the District of Saanich, take immediate measures to reduce the impact of traffic noise on the entire Falaise Community by constructing a suitable noise abatement wall running from Royal Oak Drive to the north end of Falaise Drive, similar to the berms and walls constructed in front of other residential communities along the highway during its widening process.

Dated __________ day of ____________________ , 2018 .

Of the 176 addresses within the Falaise community, we were able to speak with someone at 141 of these locations. We obtained signatures from 243 individuals supporting the petition. Of those contacted, 88% were in favour of the petition.

The petition has been submitted to Minister Popham who we expect to address it at the end of the present session of the legislature.

This paper presents a study from the US on the impact of noise walls on house prices. The authors  show that noise mitigation can increase prices by 15%.

The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure policy on traffic noise is available here. In addition to considering the impact of noise on permanent residences it also points out that limiting noise is important at places of worship and cemeteries. There are two funeral homes and a large cemetery near the Pat Bay highway and traffic noise disturbs the tranquility  near these facilities.

Saanich News

Three directors of the FCA met with a reporter from the Saanich News on May 29, 2018 to discuss the impact of traffic noise on the Falaise community. In addition to answering questions, the directors presented the reporter with the following background information:

Background information for the Saanich News

The story appeared in the June 6, 2018 edition of the paper:

The reporter captured the essential issues although the petition was not mentioned. In the last paragraph, the reporter linked the idea of a noise wall with Trump’s claim that Mexico would pay for his border wall but the FCA made no such association and we would not have approved it, had we been asked.

July 2018 meetings regarding traffic noise:

Saanich councillor, Fred Haynes, contacted the funeral homes and burial park to understand how a noise wall might impact their business and to outline how Saanich might help. All three organizations would be pleased to have reduced traffic noise, but they need to be sure that a wall would not reduce their visibility.

The President of the FCA, along with one Director and one resident, met with Lana Popham on July 3, 2018 to discuss the petition signed by FCA residents and the next steps towards reducing traffic noise. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). Lana proposed that she coordinate a meeting with Saanich Council to explore options. The MOTI will look at similar situations throughout the province to determine how they might partner with Saanich. We expect an update before the end of summer.

Falaise Drive Beautification Project

In 2008, the FCA established an initiative to create a visual barrier to separate Falaise Dr. from the Pat Bay Highway. Some financial help was obtained to plant trees and shrubs along the section of Falaise Dr. near the McCall funeral home. Although some trees were planted, the work was never finished. This document summarizes the history of the project.