The Ministry of Transportation proposes to extend 20th Street through BX Creek Delta Park.

The Ministry of Transportation proposes to extend 20th Street through BX Creek Delta Park.

Road extension concerns still persist

On Monday, the Ministry of Transportation met with groups about the 20th Street extension

There appears to be resignation that a road will cross through a Vernon wetland although considerable concerns still exist.

On Monday, the Ministry of Transportation met with several groups to discuss the extension of 20th Street through BX Creek Delta Park, behind Rona.

“I’m still not convinced the extension is necessary but it appears to be going ahead,” said Harold Sellars, with the North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club.

The 20th Street extension is part of the ministry’s proposal to improve safety at the intersection of Stickle Road and Highway 97.

As early as March, fill could be deposited along the proposed road route.

“There won’t be a lot left of the wetland,” said Sellars.

“The amount of fill for the roadbed, for an eventual two-lane road, will be significant. It will be quite a mound of dirt.”

Those attending the meeting were told that the walking trail will be re-established over the fill as soon as possible, and once the road is built, much of the existing trail will be opened.

Sellars says the ministry suggested improving facilities at the Swan Lake Nature Reserve as a way of making up for the road’s impact at BX Creek Delta Park.

However, he insists more needs to be done.

“If we’re going to lose a wetland, I would like to see the city and the ministry restore wetland elsewhere. Putting in a few shrubs or bird houses is not compensation.”

The naturalists club recently initiated a petition to stop the 20th Street extension and about 560 names were gathered.

But with the ministry continuing to proceed with the project, Sellars says his group will shift its focus and monitor construction of the road.

“If there’s something we think needs to be addressed, we will let them know,” he said.

Among those at Tuesday’s meeting were the regional parks department, Ducks Unlimited, the Ribbons of Green Trails Society and the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.