It seems I have been labouring under the misconception that the role of the people’s elected representatives and appointed bureaucrats was to listen to and support the public’s wishes.
After all, they are paid rather well with our tax dollars. I also thought that a secondary function was for them to find workable, cost effective solutions to regional problems. In light of recent events in the North Okanagan, I realize that they really don’t care what the public thinks and if we don’t like it, too bad.
A case in point is the Stickle Road traffic control controversy. I attended the information meetings for this subject, again paid for with taxpayers’ dollars. The stated objective was to explain the concept and listen to public input. What a waste of money. They had made up their minds and the meetings were simply for show.
It appears that, overwhelmingly, the public and local businesses wanted a light to control the intersection. A light, with advance warning overhead signs would cost approximately a half million dollars.
The Ministry of Transportation decided that the solution was to spend almost $10 million to build a connector road and bridge which will funnel truck traffic into a high density residential area or onto a very busy commercial area. Not only that, it will compromise a riparian area, a much needed park area and a fish spawning stream (BX Creek).
On top of that, they admit that a light will be needed sometime in the future. This certainly does not seem like fiscal responsibility to me. While two government agencies, ICBC and the RCMP, are telling people to slow down and live, the ministry seems hell bent on getting everyone to go faster.
There are traffic lights in high speed zones north of Duck Lake and at Armstrong.
There are many lights on the way into Kamloops and into Kelowna. The ministry seems to have no problem controlling traffic in these areas using lights. Why is Vernon different? This is a heavily congested area and it has heavy flow from 27th Street as well as truck traffic from the weigh scale.
The area is growing rapidly and traffic needs to be slowed down in that area. Give your heads a shake! Put in a traffic light now and save the taxpayers $9 million.
Our Mayor Mund was clearly on record as wanting a light at Stickle. Suddenly he did an about face and sided with the ministry.
I have been told that the ministry informed him that if he didn’t support their plan, the money would go to some other project in a different area.
Oh yes, and then there is our MLA, Eric Foster.
A short while ago, he was bragging about how, with one phone call, he shut down the proposed amphitheatre near the college. Wow Eric, you must have a lot of influence? Why don’t you use some of that influence to support the citizens who elected you?
I just hope that when election time comes next year, voters will remember how we were ignored and fiscal responsibility was tossed out the window by these folks.