The phrase, “Government for the people,” is often bandied about, but that certainly wasn’t evident at a public open house Wednesday.
Instead, residents were more likely to say, “They’re not listening,” in terms of the Ministry of Transportation and its proposal for a T intersection at Highway 97 and Stickle Road instead of the traffic signal many residents and businesses want.
And there was justified reason for that sentiment after Murray Tekano, the ministry’s senior project director, was asked if the agency would reverse its opposition to a signal if that’s what the public overwhelmingly wants.
“We’ve been explaining why a signal won’t work. It’s something we can’t do,” he told the media before residents walked through the doors.
And if the ministry has already pre-determined what it’s going to do at Stickle Road, what was the point of going through the charade of an open house and consulting with residents, businesses and local politicians.
The money spent on fancy poster board, coffee and the ball room could be saved if the ministry is just going to ram its plan through no matter what.
In the end, the T intersection may be the best way to improve safety at Stickle, but what is critical is that the driving public and taxpayers aren’t just listened to, but they are actually heard and their concerns are taken into account when decisions are being made.
During the first open house, the ministry admits public feedback called for a traffic signal. Instead of going that direction, the ministry pushed ahead with a different concept altogether.
No wonder citizens are largely cynical about bureaucracy and government in general.