Vernon City Hall. Photo Credit: Contributed

Vernon development raises safety issues

Pedestrian tragedy waiting to happen, says Bella Vista Road resident

A proposed residential development has Bella Vista Road residents concerned about the safety implications for pedestrians.

At issue were variance applications for the development of 28 multi-family development units comprised of four four-plexes and six semi-detached units at 5705 Heritage Dr., a currently vacant property that borders Bella Vista on the north side and Heritage on the south.

The developer appeared Monday before Vernon city council seeking variances for the maximum number of storeys, from 2.5 to 3.0; the maximum height permitted in meters for vertical wall elements without setbacks, from 6.5 to 9.1; and a rural road standard with no curb, gutter or sidewalk upgrade requirements along Bella Vista.

Area resident John Buchan told council for school students and residents who walk along Bella Vista now, the increased traffic from the development is just “a tragedy waiting to happen.”

City planning staff said the rural road standard is in keeping with the transportation master plan and projected traffic volumes for Bella Vista, which calls for paved shoulders on either side of the road of 1.5 metres in width.

The master plan also identifies future off-road trail connections diverting pedestrian traffic off Bella Vista through Flemish Place.

Concerns were also expressed about a pathway across the vacant property between Bella Vista and Heritage that is heavily used.

But the developer said maintaining that trail didn’t fit with their design layout, and city staff pointed to issues surrounding a walkway that would require stairs, raising concerns about winter maintenance and liability.

After more than an hour debate, city staff and the developer agreed to further discuss the matter to seek out a solution to increase pedestrian safety along the development bordering on Bella Vista.

“If we put hour heads together on this surely we can come up with a solution,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

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