Letter: Second Okanagan Lake crossing a foregone conclusion

It seems we are now at a point where the only question being considered is the location of the second crossing.

To the editor:

It would be very helpful for proponents of a second crossing to explain precisely why they think this mega-project is a good idea.

The project is being sold to us by the provincial government and Kelowna city council as a solution to traffic congestion, when all evidence from all studies indicate very clearly that this is not a solution.

Why are they lying to us?

At a recent public consultation the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Central Okanagan Planning Study) distributed a feedback form ostensibly welcoming our comments “regarding future traffic congestion in the Central Okanagan.” The feedback form was titled: ‘The Okanagan Lake Second Crossing Project.’

When I asked the attendees why they were in favour of a second crossing, I was told that they were simply asking for feedback about traffic congestion, and were not for or against the second crossing.

I drew their attention to the title of the public consultation. They had no comment.

In a recent article in the Kelowna Capital News it seems we are now at a point where the only question being considered is the location of the second crossing.

We have yet to hear any evidence-based arguments on the effectiveness of a second crossing. This is because there aren’t any. And this is also why the ministry resorts to public consultations rather than consulting experts. No expert in traffic engineering would recommend expanding highways and building more roads and bridges to ease traffic congestion because it doesn’t work. This is not a secret.

It is, however, what Mark Jaccard, a professor of sustainable energy in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, would call cynical ineffective policy. In other words lies.

The only people who will benefit from a second crossing are the people who will be paid to build and maintain it. The rest of us will pay enormous amounts of tax money for an environmentally regressive project that will require massive maintenance for decades to come and will only increase traffic congestion.

The more room we provide for cars, the more cars will come. If we invested the money a bridge would cost in alternative forms of transportation we could bring more people to the Okanagan without destroying what they come here to enjoy.

The question remains: Why is the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure lying to us?

Neil Cadger, Kelowna