To the editor:
You can’t make a silk purse out of sow’s ear. Planting a few flowers and trees on [West Kelowna’s] Main Street will not make it into a high street. Nor will it have any noticeable effect on the noise, as our mayor was trying to suggest.
Until Main Street is returned to a two-way street, we will still have the fast moving highway going 50-60 kilometres an hour, along with its wind, water and noise.
Semi-truck after semi-truck zooming by is not for the main street of a town.
We will still find it difficult to park, and thus the businesses will continue to suffer like they have been doing for the past nearly 30 years.
The traffic is getting worse by the year, growing at least 2 per cent per year with not one recent change to the couplet. When we compare it to Peachland, with its sidewalk cafes and coffee houses, its friendly community spirit, when you see so many people there, taking the time to talk to each other in a relaxed atmosphere, we really see how badly Westbank has been treated by the Ministry of Highways. And the worse part about it is: they still are.
The local consulting group, hired by our council, has given up trying to encourage the highways department to find a solution. Every time they have suggested something they are told it won’t work. Two years ago, they suggested a two-lane roundabout at Gosset Road. Highways said it would only work for 15 years as the traffic by then would be too heavy for it to handle. They never come back and say, “but this might work.”
Their latest excuse is they need eight to 10 lanes (4-5 lanes each way) on Dobbin Road to make it into a bypass so that both sides could be two-way. And the $15 million-estimate to buy real estate on both sides of Dobbin Road, instead of on just one side (say just the south side) sounds illogical. As does the $33-40 million-estimate for the total.
Do they support using Elliot and Brown roads, like our council did? What happens to the traffic on the north end of Brown where it hits Butt Road? Does it all go across Old Okanagan Highway to the roundabout making another traffic jam? The highways department has no engineered drawings to show us, just a draft plan which, by law, doesn’t have to be made public.
The highways department is part of our government, paid for by our taxes—they work for us. We have a great need for answers, we shouldn’t have to wait another 15 years before anything is done. The woman in charge in Kamloops is Shawn Grant and her number is 250-828-4285 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.