Minister challenged

Some of the area’s most contentious transportation issues have been taken straight to the top

Some of the area’s most contentious transportation issues have been taken straight to the top.

Regional District of North Okanagan officials met with Transportation Minister Todd Stone at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention to discuss Stickle, Bernie and Cosens Bay roads.

“He listened to us,” said Jim Garlick, director and Coldstream mayor, adding that no firm commitments were made.

The ministry has applied for a 20-metre right-of-way along Cosens Bay Road in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

While the ministry insists the right-of-way is needed to ensure motorist safety, Coldstream and RDNO have suggested the plan would negatively impact the park’s integrity and could lead to utilities being extended to homes south of the park.

Garlick says safety upgrades could occur under existing B.C. Parks rules without removing a right-of-way from the park.

“Rather than a broad brush, be specific where the work is needed,” he said.

“We need to preserve the park and follow the wishes of the majority of the people (opposed to the right-of-way).”

RDNO representatives also spoke to Stone about the intersection at Stickle Road and Highway 97.

“(Ministry ) staff is close to coming back with version three,” said director Bob Fleming referring to two proposals the ministry had shot down by the public.

While many residents want a traffic signal at the intersection, the ministry is currently looking at extending 20th Street from Rona to Vernon Volkswagen to create another link between Stickle Road and Vernon.

The other topic discussed was Highway 97 and Birnie Road, which leads to the Greater Vernon landfill.

The ministry has proposed a right-in, right-out model that would force vehicles wanting to return to Vernon to travel south to Kalamalka Lakeview Drive to turn around.

“Their proposal is not satisfactory and needs to be revisited,” said Fleming.

The regional district has suggested an overpass be constructed at Birnie Road.