BEYOND THE HEADLINES: Foster gets a rough ride

Some residents will consider Stickle Road while voting while others have moved on from the issue

Obviously any elected official is going to have baggage as the years in office pass by. It’s just a natural as some of the decisions you make won’t be popular.

And what better time to have that record thrown open wide than an election campaign when competing interests are trying to make themselves look good.

In Vernon-Monashee, that means Stickle Road has reared its head again and Liberal Eric Foster’s role in the controversy is being highlighted.

“People in Vernon are saying that our current MLA and Ministry of Transportation experts got it wrong on Stickle Road. They came into town with their $10 million plan and they didn’t listen to local leaders or people like you and me,” said Barry Dorval, NDP candidate, in a release.

“Sure, they held a few meetings but their plan was set. It’s time to put the brakes on their plan and listen to the people in this community. We are the experts here and we need an MLA who gets that.”

One resident insists that the Stickle pickle has forced them to cast a ballot for the Green Party.

“Eric Foster has not served Vernon as well as he should have regarding the Stickle Road $10-plus million diversion of heavy traffic through our residential areas, and rushing traffic into the north end of Vernon, clogging the first controlled intersections with traffic unnecessarily and pushing a new road through an environmentally sensitive area,” writes Charles Wills in a letter to the editor.

Foster defends his stance over Stickle Road and Highway 97.

“I’m not prepared to risk people’s lives for votes,” he said.

“We consulted with experts and the experts say the best way to do this is to not put in a light there.”

Foster added that there was also extensive consultation with the public over the intersection, including those most impacted.

“The business owners there are supportive,” he said.

Ultimately, there will be those who remain upset with Foster, enough that they will cast a ballot Tuesday based on this one issue and one issue alone.

However, we should also keep in mind that there are residents who agree with the approach of the Ministry of Transportation and oppose a traffic signal at Stickle, so their support could possibly override those in opposition.

More than likely, though, even those upset with Stickle Road could still vote for the Liberals based on a range of other issues, including the economy and ideology. Memories are short when it comes to politics and it’s possible that Stickle is no longer an issue for many.

So depending on the election’s final outcome, it will be difficult to know if the Stickle debate created a dead-end for Foster’s career or if he was able to bypass the topic into another term.