I would like to take the opportunity to thank community members for patience during Wednesday’s planned protest. Law enforcement agencies have options when responding to such circumstances and use discretion when determining what actions are in the best interest of the public and those directly involved with the first priority being safety.
We learned that a protest was planned for February 26, 2020 from 2pm to 5 pm, which would disrupt traffic along Highway 17 at Mount Newton Cross Road. It was our determination that plans should be put in place for traffic detours during the protest time frame. We appreciate that the detours resulted in traffic flow issues and we are grateful to our residents for exercising patience and due diligence despite the inconvenience. Our own police resources and other partners were deployed during the protest to ensure the safety of all drivers, our local citizens, those participating in the protest, and the police officers on duty. The event was monitored throughout and the decision was made to not utilize legislative authorities including an injunction, but to allow a peaceful protest to respect the rights of free speech and assembly. The protest group did abide by the time frame, and the highway was cleared shortly after 5 pm.
Again, I want to thank the local community and motorists who were impacted by the traffic detours, the officers on duty, and the partner agencies who assisted including flaggers, District of Central Saanich personnel, Central Saanich Fire Department, and other emergency services.