Nov. 15 was a sad day when Transportation Minister Todd Stone and Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster chose the opinions of un– named professionals against the wisdom and desires of the people.
They tell us that we are not to be trusted with a traffic light at Highway 97 and Stickle Road.
They have insulted us and they choose to continue to insult thousands upon thousands of drivers who carefully negotiate traffic lights without accident, wherever they may be.
And the government of the day further insults us by telling us how careful they are with money while they plan to spend millions to divert traffic through business and residential areas so very few drivers are not impeded in any way, even if it creates hardship for people trying to enter the highway to go either north or south.
Forgotten or ignored is the reality that speed kills (have we heard this same government use this slogan, time and time again?), and forgotten or ignored is the desire of the business community to get people to slow down and stop to enjoy all that Greater Vernon has to offer.
All of this, they proclaim is for our own good, in the name of safety.
But I see something else going on here.
Some time ago, this government decided to increase speed limits on highways, something that was practical and needed on the vast stretches of highways, but not on all highways.
This stretch of Highway 97 going north from Vernon to the end of Swan Lake needs lower speed limits, yet they are trying to impose higher speeds.
And correct me if I am wrong, but I did read some time ago that the Ministry of Transportation wanted to decrease the number of traffic lights on Highway 97?
And so I see the ones who have the power brow-beating all of the rest of us so they can be faithful to a policy that is ill-conceived for this stretch of highway, that, even though it carries the highway name, is still an extension of streets in Vernon and the North Okanagan.
The people who were elected to serve the people choose to serve a policy instead.
The people who were elected to serve the people choose to serve the experts instead.
I am deeply saddened by all of this.
Premier Clark and MLAs Foster and Stone, it’s not too late for you to demonstrate wisdom and honour to all of us who are safe drivers, and improve the intersection by reducing and enforcing the speed limit, adding acceleration and deceleration lanes and installing traffic lights with the appropriate warning signals in either direction.
Then we will be able to accord you the trust and respect you should have.
We know that you can and do listen to the people as you demonstrated in Coldstream by stopping the outdoor theatre and by cancelling plans to move the ferry north of Nelson.
Please listen to us.