A recent collision was the last straw for the Sicamous mayor and staff, who are pushing the province to prohibit transport trucks from parking along Highway 1 to access local businesses.
District of Sicamous operations manager and volunteer firefighter Joe McCulloch is astonished nothing worse than a non-life-threatening injury resulted from the Sept. 18 collision involving a semi and a 56-year-old Sicamous man riding a scooter. Police reported the eastbound semi collided with the scooter, pushing it into a concrete barrier, before driving into a power pole on the eastbound shoulder, shearing the pole and bringing the power lines down upon it.
“I’ve got no idea how that guy’s alive,” said McCulloch. “I said four people should have been dead that day because the guy knocked down a power cable and the power cable was energized on top of the truck, on the semi, and energized the truck, so the driver should have been killed. The moped guy should have been dead a thousand times over, and then two other people that ran across the power cables should have been dead – I don’t know how they didn’t die.”
The collision occurred west of the Tim Hortons and the widened shoulder used for parking by tractor-trailer drivers accessing the restaurant. This parking area and its proximity to the nearby Rauma Crescent intersection has long been a cause of concern for both Sicamous residents and council.
“It’s a dangerous God-damned intersection, and I mean, we’ve got trucks parking along there and, Christ, you can hardly get two-way traffic going back and forth and we’ve had a person killed there and we had a person almost run over there, I mean where does this end?” commented a frustrated Mayor Terry Rysz.
The collision prompted McCulloch to meet with ministry staff and convey the frustration he, the mayor, the district and fellow emergency responders share.
“I called the meeting in Kamloops with all these senior officials from the Ministry of Transportation and I brought up the fact that I’m here from the operations department of Sicamous and I’d like to close that section off to truckers,” said McCulloch. “And they went, ‘well, we widened that shoulder,’ and I just, I just lost it.”
McCulloch said he then proceeded to show MOTI staff video footage from the Sept. 18 collision. Attitudes changed after that.
“We’re done with this – I said action needs to be taken now and we need to get it going and the Ministry of Transportation just went, yup, OK,” said McCulloch. “I said I want concrete blocks and they said we’ll put it in next week’s budget. I said well, we need something in now.”
McCulloch is now working with the ministry to see to the installation of no parking signs along the highway and, at some point, concrete barriers.
Rysz said he had his own discussions with ministry staff after the collision and he is hoping to see some resolution sooner than later.
“I’m getting pretty God-damned annoyed with the fact that we aren’t getting any response from the Ministry of Transportation, but at least now they’re talking about it because I said if we didn’t get a response from them, I was going to find a way that we were going to maybe react in a very negative way towards that existing business there,” said Rysz. “That’s a bit of a political statement but, at the end of the day, at least we’ve got their attention and maybe we can find some sort of resolve temporarily, but at the end of the day we’ve got to get a long-term resolution for that.”