Local voices being ignored

Resident upset with the process followed by the government for Stickle Road

It seems more and more lately that we are all witness to the bullying attitude of our provincial, majority authority government reflected in their positions and decisions regarding oh, many things.

In the ongoing battle over the Stickle Road intersection at Highway 97 north of Vernon, we now have local politicians, business owners, residents, travellers, driving professionals and more, showing their public opposition to the Ministry of Transportation’s second plan for that intersection. And yet, the push is still there from the stubborn ministry officials acting like a bunch of kids claiming their part of the sandbox.

In The Morning Star, there is a continual multitude of letters and stories demonstrating how much all of the aforementioned groups want a traffic light and not what the ministry has now proposed. Our mayor, Akbal Mund, feels his intelligence has been insulted, along with the majority of the local populations. He rightly points out how MoT officials are contradicting themselves regarding the speed limit with the positions of ICBC and the RCMP, both of those organizations claiming that reduced speeds are safer. Directors Mike Macnabb and Scott Anderson both pointing to the fact that  examples of the reality of traffic lights and reduced speed zones are across the province but our opinion here, which supports those realities, seems to be ignored.

Recently, was the first letter from a citizen disagreeing with a light there that I’ve seen. To J. Kroeker, firstly, you don’t drive through Kamloops, you drive past it unless you are entering it. Their system is entirely different than ours and their stop lights along the highway work very well. When you have frontage roads intersecting a very busy highway, lights are needed.

Here, you have no choice but to drive through town to get past Vernon. Maybe that’s why the emphasis seems to be put on one light holding things up? The city is indeed growing in several directions and a stop light at Stickle is totally logical. The sight lines are great for this to happen. The speed limit, while welcome by all of us when increased, doesn’t dictate what you put in.

They can be adjusted to suit construction and conditions. There are many examples around the province on our highways where that is the case. Think about it. In fall and spring, our overpass is often blanketed in heavy fog, seeing drivers slow down to accommodate the conditions. In fall, winter and spring, that overpass can be very slick and has seen its share of accidents through the years due to these conditions and, guess what else, speed. A slight decrease to 80 kilometres per hour until you get past Stickle heading north, or once you get past it going south, is not going to cause an accident although it might prevent one or two. Secondly, you’re not going to divert drivers to go around the entire other side of the lake on a secondary two-lane highway because of one light. Thirdly, through much of this debate I keep hearing and reading about traffic flow. You’re not affecting traffic flow in a big way here because southbound traffic needs to slow down anyway as they are getting into Vernon, and northbound traffic is just getting going to enjoy the highway increase to 100 kilometres per hour in the new portion by Swan Lake Nurseryland north. Until they reach that, however, they still have four cross streets and Ts to deal with.

The much wanted light is at the very edge of the city. The city is growing. It’s common sense.

Isn’t it interesting how Eric Foster opposed the first option presented by the MoT, and is now sticking up for their engineers? How about director Bob Fleming and his words in The Morning Star? Just giving up? Really? You just call it a day because this is all they’re willing to do? Is that how you support democracy? What the MoT is proposing now is the same as at the main entrance to Armstrong essentially, with one difference, Armstrong has a light!

In this Liberal Government democracy, the MoT is clearly not just saying, “My way or the highway,” but rather a much more direct, “My way, my highway.”

This is democracy?

Rory White

Vernon

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