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Regional director wants to see repairs north of interchange

The regional director of Central Okanagan West says he, and his constituents, don't want Westside Road improvements to stop after the interchange is fixed.

According to Jim Edgson, who has been a member of the Westside Road improvement committee for a number of years, a plan needs to be put in place to make the notoriously dangerous Westside Road safer.

"People within the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure have to recognize that it is the time, now that we've seen increasing population in the rural Westside, to start having a (long-term) plan instead of ad hoc planning," said Edgson.

"The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will be the first to admit that the Westside Road, from Bear Creek Park north, really is not on their priority list.

"I realize it's not a priority, but it needs to be."

Edgson said he presented a Powerpoint slideshow to Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in late September, 2011.

His presentation suggested that the Province consider implementing a long-term plan, which addresses a variety of safety issues on the road.

"That road has a history of fix when it's needed only . . . there is a lack of planning for the Westside Road as a whole."

Part of the problem, according to Edgson, is that there are two jurisdictions responsible for maintaining different sections of Westside Road.

"Everything south of (the turnaround) belongs to the ministry of transportation office in Penticton. Everything north of the turnaround comes out of the office in Vernon. The maintenance is glaringly different.

"Perhaps what we should do is recognize that the road needs to be under one jurisdiction."

Edgson said that he has received multiple letters and emails from concerned residents of his constituency, indicating that they are fed up with the fact that no long-term improvements have been indicated.

"Over the long run what we have to do is start living up to the fact that it's becoming a thoroughfare and even though it doesn't seem to have much population, it has been growing. It needs a plan."

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

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