Lake Country councillors were concerned about the traffic increases that would come with a new drive thru at Turtle Bay Crossing, which resulted in a bylaw amendment’s defeat Tuesday night.
A zoning bylaw amendment that was defeated last month to allow a second drive thru restaurant at the complex was brought back after Mayor James Baker said the discussion got off track and Coun. Penny Gambell was absent during the previous meeting.
Coun. Rob Geier said he was “shocked” when he saw the bylaw had been brought to Tuesday night’s regular meeting for a second time.
He said traffic is increasing as developments continue to be built in the area, listing 76 new homes that are being built near the problematic intersection on Oceola Road, as well as a daycare, and proposed subdivisons on Okanagan Centre Road and Pretty Road.
Coun. Blair Ireland said he drives Oceola Road frequently and said “the first person (to get killed) at that corner or gets seriously injured, we’re all going to feel bad about that, and it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of time.”
Coun. Jeanette Lambert said felt like she was taking her life into her own hands and McKenzie called the traffic a “nightmare.”
Coun. Gambell suggested a roundabout at the intersection, which turns into the complex off of Oceola Road, but director of infrastructure Greg Buchholz said a roundabout is expensive and has not been listed in the Capital Plan for the next five years.
Kelowna-based developer Toni Illingworth grew frustrated during the meeting, saying the proposed drive thru restaurant would not open until 11 a.m., skipping the morning rush.
“The traffic review predicts an increase in a.m. peak hour trips from 332 to 451 (an increase of 119 trips, or 36 per cent); and an increase in p.m. peak hour trips from 390 to 430 (an increase of 40 trips, or 10 per cent),” according to a report which was presented to council in May.
The report also said the traffic increase would have a “negligible” impact on surrounding roads.
Traffic consultant Dave Cullen said with it’s current zoning as a drive thru bank, the building would add no traffic during peak hours.
Cullen said with the initial analysis, which was approved by the Ministry of Transportation, the drive thru would not affect Highway 97 or Oceola Road traffic.
When asked by Coun. Bill Scarrow if the intersection would be able to handle today’s and future traffic increases from the businesses, Cullen answered “yes.”
“As roads get busier, people accommodate traffic,” Cullen said.
Scarrow said the traffic consultant said the intersection can accomadate the traffic, as well as district staff and the Ministry of Transportation.
“So now I have four or five inidividual councillors who supersede all that, and say ‘no, this isn’t going to work.’ Sorry I don’t buy it,” he said.
Mayor James Baker and Coun. Scarrow were the only two members that approved of the zoning amendment, which was rejected by Coun. Lambert, McKenzie, Ireland and Gambell.