EDITORIAL: Mixed messages from agencies

IHA calls for cycling in natural areas while Ministry of Transportation wants a road in a park

Last week, Interior Health Authority representatives urged the City of Vernon to enhance infrastructure for cycling and walking. The goal is to promote healthy lifestyles and allow residents to access the natural environment.

And that is an absolutely worthy effort, but it’s unfortunate that another arm of the provincial government may be undermining IHA’s campaign.

Currently, the Ministry of Transportation has a proposal to deal with traffic flow and safety at Stickle Road and Highway 97. The plan includes a one-way connector road from Stickle Road to 20th Street in Vernon.

The problem is the route would go right through BX Creek Delta Park, an increasingly popular spot for residents.

Often you see people there walking and running,” said Harold Sellers, with the North Okanagan Naturalists Club.

This is exactly the crowd IHA was targeting during its presentation to city council.

Yes, the Ministry of Transportation’s plans for a connector route includes sidewalks but will a busy road provide the same appeal to pedestrians and cyclists that they currently enjoy with a trail and natural setting? On the environmental front, will the birds stick around if vehicles invade their habitat?

In the end, it’s quite clear that one hand of the provincial government doesn’t know what the other hand is doing.

While one agency is urging residents to be active, the other one is throwing up roadblocks.