A public petition opposing the construction of a Main Street bridge may be gaining momentum in the community, but it cannot force Sicamous council’s hand.
Council recently received both a public presentation, as well as a letter, from Portside Court property owners regarding the Bruhn Bridge replacement project and, in particular, what’s known as Option 3. This option, presented by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), includes both a new four-lane bridge to replace the Bruhn, as well as a new bridge at Main Street bridge, which would run adjacent to Portside.
During the presentation, Portside owners asked for access to all material relevant to the bridge options, including financial data that sets out the financial costs the District of Sicamous will be responsible for in relation to each of the three bridge options. The presenters also asked that council reject Option 3.
Later, council received a letter from Portside owner Judy Moore. In it, Moore asks that council provide reasonable notice of any public meeting in which council will be discussing the bridge options.
Moore also notes a petition is being circulated that supports the view that Option 3 should not be the preferred option recommended by council to the ministry.
“At the present time, we have approximately 600 residents and taxpayer signatories,” writes Moore, adding she intends to keep the petition circulating throughout the summer.
“We wish to ensure that council has the benefit of having the petition before them during the time frame council deliberates on the option to be endorsed.”
Regarding advanced notice, Coun. Malcolm Makayev said that in his opinion, that is provided with the advanced posting of council agendas on the District of Sicamous’ website.
“I think there already is a process in place to give people a heads-up on what’s coming up on the agenda,” said Makayev.
As for the petition, district town manager explained that, provided it is legitimate, in that it contains both the signatories name and address, council can receive the petitions for information, but is not obligated to act on them as petitions are non-binding.
“A lot of people think once the petition is served you must act on it. You just receive it for information,” said Parliament.
In a recent interview, Rysz said the district has not received any new information from the province regarding the bridge options since the conclusion of the provincial election and the swearing in of a new BC NDP-Green government. He and council, however, plan to meet with MOTI and the new transportation minister, Claire Trevena, at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September.