To the editor:
In 2004 RDCO hired a consultant to review the possible extension of Menu and McCallum Roads (in West Kelowna) into the about-to-be-developed area beyond Victor Properties. The conclusion was that these neighbourhood roads could not safely handle the large increase of traffic that would result. RDCO concluded that only emergency access would be allowed through Menu and McCallum.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Transportation called for these roads to be opened and held a public meeting. Kurt Edmunds, Provincial Approving Officer, presided. He listened to various pros and cons and later that day gave his decision. He agreed with the original recommendation for an emergency access only for Menu Road and McCallum Road.
This was reiterated in a letter (June 1, 2004) from then Minister of Transportation, Hon. Kevin Falcon.
The Attorney-General, Hon. Geoff Plant, actually made it quite clear, that Kurt Edmunds is a Provincial Approval Officer and as such operates as an independent decision-making authority conferred by the legislature. The Attorney-General went on to state the only way to change this decision.
“Where an issue is raised concerning a decision or the decision-making process of a Provincial Approving Officer, the courts are charged with the power to review that decision or decision-making process.”
However, West Kelowna council and mayor have decided to have another go at this, notwithstanding the Attorney-General’s written statement that only a court can open the gates at Menu and McCallum Roads.
Councillors Neis, Dejong, Ophus and Winsby are of the opinion that the decision in 2004 was political. As the facts herein indicate, they are the ones making it political, assisting the developer to provide more access. Does opening theses roads make it easier to sell the lots/houses? It may allow them to have the houses closer together so they can sell more lots and make more money. Also it may allow them to build less costly houses, as they may not have to have sprinkler systems.
It is very clear that the decisions made in the past were for safety concerns and the current politicians are ignoring that and making it purely political.
Suffice it to say that you can change a name from RDCO to DWK to CWK but the law is still the law. You need a court decision to change the decision made in 2004 by the Provincial Approving Officer.
Steven Tuck, West Kelowna