Three years ago, the City of Vernon circulated a questionnaire that showed three possibilities for a highway bypass.
A western bypass through Bella Vista and through the O’Keefe Range, an elevated highway over the railroad tracks and the eastern bypass behind East Hill and through south and north BX down to Swan Lake. Yet the question was, do you agree with the western truckers bypass?
That to me means that the city planners had their minds made up on the western bypass and were not giving the public a choice of options. The only choice was to approve their decision or not have a bypass.
This seems to be a common theme. There was a similar questionnaire years ago about the expansion of the library and museum. The proposal to the public was to expand both, to the north. After the questionnaire, the public was informed that we turn the expansion down for the reason that we didn’t want to lose green space. Well look where we are now, another proposal to expand the museum to the north into green space and parking lot.
Also the sports complex at the college was pretty well forced down our throats with information meetings telling the public that this was our best and only possibility for a track and field facility and also that this complex would be an economic boost to our community.
The planners say they consult with the public, but they consult after they have decided what, where and how much, when I think they should be asking for multiple scenarios from the public, special interest groups and business community.
That being said, all projects going forward should be only considered if they strongly benefit the public’s health, the environment and economy.
Back to the bypass options, the eastern bypass I think is our best option.
The bypass would line up with 27th Street and merge on to Highway 6 (not through the Pottery Road gully) sweep north through south and north BX (yes, through hobby farms and some orchards).
They could build landscaped berms on either side to reduce noise and conceal the highway from the neighbouring properties and also construct a mutli-use path along one side. The eastern bypass also doesn’t disturb native wildlife habitat as the western bypass would disturb a great deal.
I was told by planners that this option was rejected because the highway would run through three jurisdictions (Vernon, Coldstream and RDNO) and would be a bureaucratic nightmare.
That’s now, but it probably won’t be long that this area will be amalgamated into Vernon.
By the way, if you’re thinking I’m suggesting this with not-in-my-backyard thinking, this highway would run right below my backyard.
I live in the north BX just above where the highway would join Highway 97 at Swan Lake.