The consultant hired by West Kelowna to come up with a design for the second phase of an upgrade to West Kelowna’s busiest road found himself on the hot seat in front of city council Tuesday night.
Peter Truch of Stantec Consulting Ltd. was ripped into by one councillor and saw his proposals shredded by others after presenting three possible options for the upgrade to Boucherie Road between Stuart Road and Ogden Road.
“I can’t express how disappointed and angry I am at what you have expressed to us,” thundered Coun. Rosalind Neis. “I’m absolutely appalled.”
She said what’s needed is a road to move traffic, not something built with wide multi-use sidewalks, multiple cycle lanes and “visual appeal.”
“Visual appeal can be added later with lamp posts and banners hanging from the lamp posts,” said Neis.
And she didn’t stop there.
“I could draw you a sketch (of what should be done),” she said.
Having passively absorbed the criticism, Truch gently shot back that he was sure every one on council could draw a sketch of what they feel is needed on the road but council obviously does not have the answers or it would not have hired a consultant.
And it was not just Neis who was unhappy with what was presented and what will be shown to the public at a planned open house Nov. 3 at the Lakeview Heights Community Hall between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Coun. Bryden Winsby, who lives on Boucherie Road, said despite the amount of traffic that uses the road, Boucherie is an arterial road in name only.
“It was originally a rural road, and one that was not looked after ,” he said adding he was “not blown away” by any of the designs presented by Truch.
“I’m not sure any of these designs fit Boucherie Road.”
Mayor Doug Findlater said dual, double-wide bicycle lanes so riders could ride two abreast and have conversation while riding—presented in one option—seem “excessive.” Coun. Duane Ophus said he was not sure any of the concepts would work on Boucherie Road.
While Truch said he did not expect any of the three concepts would be adopted without changes, he defended them saying they were an attempt to provide room for vehicle traffic, as well as pedestrians and cyclists given that the road is part of West Kelowna’s tourist-oriented Wine Route.
Missing from all three designs was a centre median, which every member of council applauded, saying including a centre median in the first phase of Boucherie Road’s upgrade—between Highway 97 and Stuart Road—was a big mistake.
Council said the median has made it impossible for larger service vehicles, like snow plows, to turn and traffic can’t pass if trucks are stopped on that stretch.
Even the fake grass used on the median in phase one was criticized, with Findlater saying instead of having city workers out cutting real grass with a flag person on hand, they are now out pulling weeds that grow up through the fake grass, also with a flag person on hand.
He told Truch to expect some very “interesting” conversations with residents at the open house, cryptically indicating that he thought residents would not be happy.
While cross-section drawings of only one of the three concepts presented by Truch showed a left-turn lane, he said space for vehicles to pass left-turning traffic could be created by using the bike lane space in at least one of the other two concepts. Left-turning space is seen as essential on the narrow Boucherie Road.
Another issue, according to council is that with the development of a small shopping mall on nearby Anders Road, traffic on Boucherie is expected to grow even more in the next few years. And that traffic will need to be accommodated on the upgraded stretch.
And then there is the issue of the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Hudson Road and Boucherie Road.
Several councillors weighed in on that, concerned about the amount of land the city would need to acquire for it.
Truch said while stop signs were likely not feasible to deal with the traffic safely at the intersection, traffic lights may be an option. A roundabout, however, was the best option according to traffic numbers.
Based on the public feedback, including from the open house, city council will pick a design—which looks like it could be a hybrid of one of the three presented given council’s reaction. Work is expected to commence in the coming year.