EDITORIAL: Ministry must reverse course

Residents and businesses must be listened to when it comes to Stickle Road

It’s obvious from Thursday’s open house that the Ministry of Transportation’s plans for the intersection at Stickle Road and Highway 97 need to be sent back to the drawing board.

A steady crowd flowed into the ballroom at the Prestige Hotel and reviewed the ministry’s proposal to prevent left-hand turns from Stickle Road on to the highway.

People didn’t hold back their disdain.

“It’s crazy, so stupid it’s not even funny,” said George Zimmerman, who has lived in the neighbourhood since 1950 and has petitioned for action to prevent fatalities and injuries at the intersection.

“I think it’s a bunch of BS,” added resident Bob Tauffenbach.

By shutting down left-hand turns on to the highway, the ministry will force vehicles, including large semis, on to narrow and windy Pleasant Valley Road. If you are on the west side of Stickle Road and want to go north, you will first have to go south into Vernon and then back-track. Not only is that inconvenient, but those extra kilometres are not environmentally friendly.

Businesses along Stickle Road have reason to fear what the ministry’s plan will do to their bottom line as customers may disappear if access becomes challenging. And the ministry statistics indicating low volume of traffic at the intersection are suspect as many people avoid turning there under current conditions because of the risk involved.

If the goal of the open house was to truly have meaningful dialogue with residents and businesses, then the ministry needs to put its process on hold and take another look at the options.