Malahat, British Columbia
Malahat is an unincorporated area in the Cowichan Valley, with municipal-type services delivered by the Cowichan Valley Regional District (Area A). What could be considered the hub of the community is a small collection of business that includes the Malahat Gas station (which also serves as the Malahat Post Office) and the Malahat Chalet and the Moon Water Lodge.
A steep and rugged terrain has in the past precluded any significant residential development but new subdivisions are being built around the northern end of the area around the old Bamberton cement works and in the area adjoining Elkington Forest. Most area residents live in isolated homes located off the highway. In this context "Malahat" primarily refers to the Canada Post delivery district.
Malahat is mostly known for the portion of British Columbia Highway 1 that traverses the community, locally known as 'The Malahat' or 'The Malahat Drive'. The roadway has a mix of 2, 3 and 4 lane cross-sections. The highway through the narrow Goldstream Park canyon section is 2 lanes.
The Malahat portion of highway 1 has been subject to a number of fatal traffic accidents – caused largely by vehicles crossing the centre line. These accidents have led to lengthy road closures. Closure of the Malahat highway causes disruption to travel and commerce on Vancouver Island as portions of the highway are a single point of failure if closed and there are no practical alternative routes.
As a result of these crashes the Ministry of Transportation has begun a program to add centre concrete medians to separate north and southbound traffic. Now the section between Finlayson Arm Road to Summit has had median added; 65% of the Malahat highway is divided with a concrete median.