Upgrades demanded for road

Residents are increasingly upset over what they see as the lack of action on Westside Road.

The Ministry of Transportation met recently with the public to discuss windy and narrow Westside Road and long-term plans for improvements.

“There was a fair amount of frustration from the audience about things not happening,” said Jim Edgson, Central Okanagan Regional District director.

“People would like to see the road fixed in a way that’s safe to travel.”

The ministry has identified 12 sections of the road between Bear Creek in the south and north Fintry where possible work, such as realignment, could occur.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to define projects,” said Murray Tekano, district manager.

Among the steps that must still be done before any projects are finalized are environmental and geotechnical assessments and consultation with First Nations.

Nine locations have also been identified for sites where slow moving vehicles can pull over.

Eventually potential improvements from Fintry to Highway 97, near O’Keefe Ranch, will also be determined.

There are no timelines for any upgrades to occur, and a determining factor will be finances.

“We will be prioritizing them and how funding will be allocated based on the priorities,” said Tekano.

“Each year we hope to do some work on Westside Road.”

Edgson says the pull-outs are new, but most of the other information from the ministry has been heard before.

“This is the first time they’ve shown there is a plan and explained it to the people,” he said.

“But the timing is not clear and that’s a source of frustration for people. I personally want to see a plan with times.”

Until major improvements occur, Edgson is concerned that motorists will continue to be at risk.

“We understand they have to deal with budgets and Westside Road is not a priority for the ministry, but it’s a priority for the people who travel the road,” he said.