Roundabout should have gone to referedum

The public must have the right and responsibility to democratically express its opinions

Editor, The Times:

On or about March 12, 2012 the Times reported, “A proposal to build a roundabout on Highway 5 at the junction with the road to Wells Gray Park did not seem to get much support during the first of two public information sessions held last Wednesday at Clearwater Secondary School. According to the Times, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) Regional project manager Dave Shibata said about the proposed roundabout, ‘This is an unfunded project. If the community does not want it then it’s not going forward.’”

The Times, on Sept. 27, 2012 reported, “Letters to Clearwater mayor and council are running about six-to-one against a proposed roundabout but town council does not appear to be ready to consider changing its support for the project.”

On Nov. 16, 2012 the Kamloops Daily News reported that on Nov. 14, 2012 a Clearwater couple owning and operating a trucking company in Clearwater had met with MLA Terry Lake in Kamloops and had presented him with a 468 name petition objecting to the roundabout that’s on the brink of being built. These Clearwater owner-operators, not receiving any satisfaction from MLA Lake regarding the petition, continued to leave the petitions opposing the roundabout construction in place throughout the Clearwater area. Soon, the petitions contained 777 names (signatures) opposing the roundabout, at which point, having no satisfactory response from MLA Lake, such as his arranging a referendum question, the outcome of which would determine whether or not a majority was in favour of the roundabout or not. Copies of the petitions were sent to MLA Lake and other government officials, to no avail.

The Times reported on Jan. 17, 2013 that Terry Lake, North Thompson MLA, had announced, “No date has been set for the roundabout meeting but it likely will be in late February or early March.” Further, the Times stated, “The MLA reiterated a pledge not to force the roundabout on the community if the majority is against it.”

From this pledge, there is no doubt that Lake is committed to providing the local Clearwater area population an official democratic process such as a referendum to determine if there is a majority opposing the construction of the proposed roundabout. MLA Lake did not live up to his pledge. In actuality, it seems evident from the information that is available, that the majority is strongly opposed to the roundabout, but Terry Lake has decided to belie his pledge and support the MOTI hierarchy in its determination to construct the roundabout even though the project manager, Dave Shibata, as seen above stated the roundabout, “… is an unfunded project. If the community does not want it then it’s not going through.”

In such matters as the construction of the roundabout, which will likely cost the taxpayers of the province in excess of $2.5 million, the public must have the right and responsibility to democratically express its opinions and insist that the majority rights and positions be respected and supported by their elected representatives.

Sadly, in this case MLA Lake seemed to “talk the talk;” but seriously failed “to walk the walk.” Further, the MOTI has failed to honour its pledge to the community as the community was not offered the opportunity to democratically and definitively express its position on the roundabout.

George Briggs

 

Upper Clearwater, B.C.

 

 

Clearwater Times

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