RDN director says filming of ‘Sonic’ caused disruption

Veenhof wants regional district to have filming permits in future

The filming of the ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie that took place on Highway 19 near Bowser came and went in a flash.

But for those inconvenienced by the week-long closure of the portion of Highway 19 between Horne Lake Road and Cook Creek Road Sept. 10-14 during the filming of the $90-million movie, some bitter memories continue to linger.

Regional District of Nanaimo chairman and Electoral Area H (Deep Bay, Bowser and Qualicum Bay) director Bill Veenhof said he received a lot of calls and emails from unhappy residents.

Veenhof put a notice of motion that staff report back to the board on developing filming permits.

“I had a rather tough experience up in Area H as it relates to filming of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’,” said Veenhof. “At the end of the day, a lot of people made a lot about the economic benefits that filming brings to the community. And indeed all the cast and supporting crew were in the Comox Valley Regional District, staying in their hotels and eating in their restaurants.”

Veenhof said when they closed Highway 19, the traffic were all rerouted through Area H and it created considerable nuisance.

“We got all the disruptions and the Comox Valley Regional District got all the benefits,” said Veenhof. “I have nothing against it to be very clear. The economic benefits for the whole Island I am all in favour but there’s got to be some balance. And for me insult to injury was that I certainly left a couple of safety meetings with the understanding of how safety would be managed by the production company and by the traffic management plan. It didn’t happen on a couple of specific items.”

Veenhof said the area was just a spectator there.

“Never again,” said Veenhof. “This can happen to any rural area. So I want the RDN to be in a position to permit filming.”

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