A rezoning application in Lake Country is causing the district to look to the provincial government for help in alleviating a traffic bottle-neck along Highway 97 in Lake Country.
Councilors have been urged to lobby the government to make changes to the intersection of Highway 97 and Glenmore/Beaver Lake Roads as you enter Lake Country from Kelowna, after a public hearing was held and residents raised concern about traffic backing up in the area.
The hearing was for a rezoning application to change six properties from agriculture land to light industrial, but the roads network in the area is already stretched to its limit, according to residents who live nearby.
“I live right across the street from this monstrosity,” said area resident Donna Stoltz. “When we came to all these meetings years ago, everyone was against this. This is our quiet neighbourhood where people walk their dogs, ride their horses and kids play. The community doesn’t want this. The only ones who want this are the ones selling their property.”
“The traffic is unbelievable morning, noon and night, it’s endless,” added resident Sharon Warner. “The people that live in the area can’t get out. We wait and we wait and no one will stop.”
At the hearing residents heard future plans for a partial re-alignment of Glenmore Road as well as nearby Okanagan Centre Road West, however staff in Lake Country say much of the traffic problem starts at the intersection of Glenmore and Highway 97 which needs a major upgrade, according to Greg Buchholz at the District of Lake Country.
“This is a very costly project and will have to be led by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure,” said Buchholz. “Until they come to the table and provide a long term solution for this, we will continue to have these problems. The ministry is doing a Central Okanagan planning study and we are really trying to say this is the bottleneck on Highway 97 and deserves some immediate attention. Maybe they will see the light on it and proceed sooner rather than later.”
Coun. Penn Gambell pointed to the length of time it took to lobby the government on other projects and said something needs to be done in the short-term instead of waiting on the province.
“It could be five or 10 years, we don’t know. We’re certainly going to lobby but its expensive and sometimes things change and it could be a lot longer,” she said.
In the end council asked for a staff report to be done on the rezoning application before a decision is made. The application will return to Lake Country council at a future time.