Area politicians and businesses aren't happy with a proposed Ministry of Transportation plan to make Stickle Road and Highway 97 a right-in

Area politicians and businesses aren't happy with a proposed Ministry of Transportation plan to make Stickle Road and Highway 97 a right-in

Businesses band together for intersection

Swan Lake Business Corridor Association forms to push for traffic light at Highway 97 and Stickle Road

Property and business owners along Vernon’s Swan Lake corridor continue to urge the ministry of transportation to use common sense over a contentious intersection.

The ministry announced April 30 that it plans to prevent left-hand turns from Stickle Road on to Highway 97.

If the plan goes ahead – and the ministry has said it’s not a done deal – it would mean a vehicle on the east side of Stickle Road wanting to go south would have to use Pleasant Valley Road and city roads instead of turning left on to Highway 97.

And those on the west side wanting to travel north, they will first have to go south into Vernon and make their way over to 27th Street or Pleasant Valley Road to access the highway.

The soon-to-be-formed Swan Lake Business Corridor Association, made up of property and business owners, is adamantly opposed to the plan, and have made it clear they want a traffic light.

“We’re addressing our call for a traffic light and keeping the pressure on the ministry, letting them know their proposal of no left turns and no lights is not acceptable,” said David Claeys, spokesperson for the association, who owns three acres north of R-Xtra Storage.

“We just don’t understand why highways is so reluctant to go in that direction.”

The ministry has said the intersection does not warrant a signal because only five per cent of the traffic makes any turning movements there.

During an open house on the subject April 30, the ministry revealed that in peak hours,  there are 11 to 34 left-turns from the east side of Stickle Road onto the highway, one left-hand turn on the west side and two straight-through movements.

Ministry figures show there have been three fatalities at the intersection between 2003 and 2012, 18 injuries and 29 cases of property damage.

The estimated cost of the right-in, right-out project is $3 million, and a light would add about $400,000 to $500,000.

Vernon city councillor Scott Anderson was troubled that there was a lack of public consultation prior to the open house, along with a lack of consultation with local governing bodies.

“The public has a strong opinion on this and has a right to know before a meeting is called asking for input,” said Anderson, whose motion to send a letter to the ministry expressing the city’s concerns on the lack of consultation was unanimously supported.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham was troubled by the date of the open house, which coincided with the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) in Kamloops.

“A lot of local government members couldn’t be there, said Cunningham, who did attend the open house along with Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund.

“I thought that was problematic.”

Said Mund: “I did not run into one individual (at the open house) who thought that intersection should not have a light. I talked to about 50 people. No question, it’s a contentious issue.”