To the editor:
I would like to weigh in on two issues regarding the proposals for Highway 97 upgrades through West Kelowna.
The Dobbin Road trench: Make this a complete cut and cover. The end result is a tunnel under Westbank without the ugliness and noise of a trench. Downtown Westbank is on a hill so a tunnel is possible without incurring the higher cost of a level ground situation. The benefit of a tunnel to Westbank would be huge. A trench…not so. I support Mayor Doug Findlater’s efforts to, at least, get a trench but let’s push it further and get a tunnel. If you don’t squeak, you don’t get the oil.
The Bear Creek loop: Regarding the second bridge crossing, a massive highway loop is proposed to access the new bridge north of the current one. The road would go north then immediately reverse south with a hairpin turn. The only reason cited for this loop is “the built up nature of the area.” This would add at least 4 km of distance for every vehicle. Think of the time waste, fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle wear and tear and accident potential. This all to accommodate a few residents in this built up area. The provincial government has the power and the precedent to annex properties at fair market value for the public good. The overall cost would likely be far less because the road would be shorter by 4 km. So if we truly need a second crossing make the most straight forward Highway 97 route possible and annex the required properties.
Steve Burke, West Kelowna