Before his constituents get too busy with the holidays, Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart hosted a couple open houses to meet with the people of his riding, hear their concerns and answer questions.
Tuesday’s open house, held at the Kelowna Senior Citizens Society Club 17, was directed at the members of Stewart’s constituency who live east of the bridge.
“I want to be accessible to everybody. We had one on the Westside last week, at the Lions Hall. The one this week is in downtown Kelowna,” said Stewart.
“I think a lot of people in the downtown area of my riding don’t realize that the riding stretches from the lake all the way out to Spall Road, from Knox Mountain down to the hospital.”
Although the open house was held in Kelowna, Stewart said a number of people came armed with their concerns about Westside Road.
“There is a big delegation here from Westside Road. A lot of them either have property out there and live downtown or they have driven over here. The big question in everybody’s mind is road and safety improvements.”
Stewart said he is well aware of the concern and has already been presenting the case to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom.
“On Tuesday, Minister Lekstrom (and I) physically drove the road from Vernon right through to the Westside. We had the chance to go with two key people in the ministry that are responsible for this area: Murray Tekano and Norm Parkes.”
Stewart said that the group examined the road safety improvements that have already started, the resurfacing issues and the width of the road.
“The ministry is aware that the road is too narrow in some cases. I’d like to see some cement safety improvements or barricades put up, but they can’t put them on unless they widen the road.”
According to Stewart, in the past, the province has stated that the road has too low an amount of traffic to justify doing significant improvements; however, he is optimistic that Tekano’s staff and resources in the ministry will make it a priority.
“Road safety comes first on my mind; we need to improve that.”