The Ministry of Transportation wants a right-of-way through Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park for possible upgrades to Cosens Bay Road.

The Ministry of Transportation wants a right-of-way through Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park for possible upgrades to Cosens Bay Road.

Official won’t enter debate

Bob Fleming, electoral area director, is not prepared to make a decision on Cosens Bay Road

An elected official refuses to take sides on contentious plans for Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

Bob Fleming, electoral area director for the park and the Cosens Bay cabin colony, is not prepared to make a decision yet on the Ministry of Transportation’s bid for a 30-metre wide right-of-way along the existing Cosens Bay Road in the park.

“I’d like to see all of the information. There are arguments on both sides,” said Fleming.

Fleming recently met with the ministry to discuss its proposal and was told the major concerns are no drainage ditches, a lack of pull-outs and blind corners.

“I see the perspective of the ministry to try and reduce its (repair) costs with ditching,” said Fleming.

“I was told there is no intention to pave the road or create a 30-metre-wide stretch and they will stay within the existing road and improve safety.”

The Ministry of Transportation has applied to B.C. Parks to change the boundary of park to allow for the right-of-way and B.C. Parks will make the ultimate decision.

Since the ministry’s plans became public, there has been considerable debate with some Cosens Bay property owners insisting there is a need to improve motorist safety on the road.

Concern has come from the District of Coldstream and the Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park Society.

“Removal of this right of way would remove land from Kal park and the jurisdiction of B.C. Parks. It would essentially divide Kal Park into two sections,” said Val Buchanan, society president, in a release.

“Removal of land from our parks is a step backwards. Residents want more parkland, not less.”

Buchanan suggests upgrades could ultimately lead to a paved road, which would become an attractant for the endangered Pacific rattlesnake.

“Road kill would become common and snake populations on either side of the road could become genetically isolated. Other wildlife could also be casualties,” she said.

Buchanan also says an upgraded road could lead to increased traffic, illegal dumping, partying in the park and off-road driving.

“The Friends of Kal Park understands the need for improved safety on Cosens Bay Road for those in vehicles and those not,” she said.

“We would support actions taken for this purpose but only to the limited extent actually needed. We believe safety and maintenance improvements can be achieved by the ministry applying to B.C. Parks for a park use permit.”

Buchanan says a park use permit would avoid land being removed from the park while allowing for some changes to the road.

“We will be protecting Kal Park and we are definitely against any land being taken out of the park to widen the road and add hydro.”