There are ongoing concerns that a tranquil oasis could be crushed by asphalt.
The Ministry of Transportation’s plans to extend 20th Street through BX Creek Delta Park dominates North Okanagan Naturalists Club discussions.
“It comes up every time we get together,” said Harold Sellers, club president.
The park is at the end of 20th Street and includes a boardwalk through wetland.
“The creek attracts a lot of birds in all seasons,” said Sellars.
“A bird we have seen there is the American dipper.”
Other wildlife, including weasels, are also common amidst the vegetation.
Because the site is close to residential and commercial areas, it is used regularly.
“It’s very popular. Often you see people there walking and running,” said Sellers.
The ministry’s 20th Street extension is part of a proposal to improve safety conditions at Stickle Road and Highway 97.
However, Sellers says a traffic signal at Stickle Road is the answer and not extending 20th Street.
“We’d lose a natural asset and a recreational asset for very minimal gain,” he said.
Sellers has met with ministry staff and has been told that the road extension includes sidewalk to replace the trail and bird and bat houses.
“They are very trivial, cosmetic things. Who will look after the bird houses?” he said.
Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, defends the route for the road.
“The ministries of environment and transportation developed plans for minimal impact on that area,” he said.
“It’s been looked at very carefully.”
Foster expects that a formal announcement on the 20th Street extension could occur soon.