No left turns onto Highway 97 from Stickle Road in Vernon is not the right thing to do at the intersection.
Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster announced Friday that the Ministry of Transportation plan has been scrapped.
“The original plan is put on the shelf, it’s not going to be used,” said Foster.
The ministry announced April 30 that it planned to prevent left-hand turns from Stickle Road on to Highway 97, meaning a vehicle on the east side of Stickle Road wanting to go south would have to use Pleasant Valley Road and city routes instead of turning onto the highway.
Those on the west side of the road wanting to head north would have had to go south into Vernon and make their way over to 27th Street or Pleasant Valley Road to access Highway 97.
The plan drew outrage from city residents and local governments.
“I lobbied the minister (Todd Stone) who was aware of the negative publicity the plan had attracted,” said Foster. “He totally agreed that the ministry was planning to spend a lot of money that the people we’re spending it for don’t want, and it’s not going to serve their needs, so it’s been scrapped.”
Foster said his biggest concern over the original proposal was the traffic being routed onto Pleasant Valley Road.
“The traffic is going to increase and Pleasant Valley Road is not designed for that,” he said.
The newly formed Swan Lake Business Corridor Association, made up of business and property owners, is grateful for the MLA’s lobbying efforts.
“This is awesome, fantastic news,” said association spokesperson David Claeys Friday afternoon.
“We appreciate the support Eric Foster has brought into this, addressing such an important issue. We look forward in coming up with a positive solution for all parties.”
Claeys pointed out that Regional District of North Okanagan Electoral Areas B and C are currently conducting a master sewer plan, and the Swan Lake business corridor is zoned for commercial and light industrial, so the area is anticipated to grow significantly.
The Swan Lake Business Corridor Association wants to see a traffic light installed at the contentious intersection, and plans to continue to lobby for the signal.
“We’d like to point out to highways, that not only today but that corridor is going to grow and a light is the only option we see,” said Claeys. “If we don’t do this today, it’ll hurt everyone, the whole community.”
The ministry has said previously the intersection does not warrant a signal because only five per cent of the traffic makes any turning movements.
Foster said several other options for the intersection have been discussed, but he declined to comment on what specific options are being looked at.
“I asked the ministry staff to try and get something back to me before the end of the (Legislative) session at the end of this month,” said Foster.