Bureaucracy is known for moving slowly, but the pace at the Ministry of Transportation borders on ridiculous.
Members of a Regional District of North Okanagan committee learned Thursday that despite an extensive planning process for upgrades to Stickle Road and Highway 97, the ministry has gone to an engineering firm for another report on the matter.
“I hope no one dies while they restudy the intersection,” said director Bob Fleming.
And, unfortunately, that sad scenario is possible.
There have been four or five fatalities at the intersection since 2001, generally as a result of vehicles trying to turn left off of Stickle Road and on to Highway 97, where many vehicles are exceeding the posted speed limit.
Resident George Zimmerman, who lives along the corridor, has seen the carnage first-hand and collected 1,363 names on a petition in 2006 demanding upgrades.
In 2012, the Regional District of North Okanagan board unanimously called on the ministry to install a control light at the intersection to improve public safety.
So pressure on the ministry has been escalating for years, but instead of responding positively to the wishes of the community, absolutely nothing gets done by the ministry and the risk to the travelling public continues.
Yes, improvements to the intersection may be costly but what price do you put on a life?
It is time for the Ministry of Transportation to step up to the plate, make a decision and do what is right.