Saturday, July 29, 2017

Stickle not a done deal

By  Darren Handschuh - Jul 29, 2017 / 5:00 am 
The Stickle Pickle might not be a done deal. What to do with the Stickle Road-Highway 97 intersection has been debated for years. The most popular solution to taming the dangerous intersection at the north end of town was a stop light, but the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure kiboshed the idea. Several other ideas were presented to the public, but in the end MOTI officials decided to extend 20th Street through a wetland from Stickle Road to behind Rona. Paving a green space had people up in arms from the start, but Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster said experts have decided it is the best plan and he stands by that decision. However, it seems extending 20th Street may not be a done deal. Foster said the government had earmarked $9.5 million for the project, but when the project went to tender, all of the bids exceeded the budgeted amount so the contract was not awarded and the project stalled. Then came the provincial election and a change of government. The NDP could change the Stickle plan altogether. “They can do whatever they like,” said Foster, adding he still stands by the MOTI decision because “it was the safest plan that was put forward. I support it 100 per cent. This is a safety issue.” While some of the wetlands would be lost, Foster said the plan calls for saving as much of the green space as possible. “The area not covered by the road will be brought back to a green space,” he said. According to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure , “This project remains a priority and we are committed to improving the safety and mobility of the Highway 97 and Stickle Road intersection in Vernon. “The ministry is committed to addressing environmental impacts during the construction of this project. Golder and Associates have completed a comprehensive environmental management plan and all necessary environmental approvals are in place. This includes re-vegetation and erosion control, building a new wetland habitat area, and the requirement to have an environmental monitor on site when any work is being done in a sensitive area. “The project is moving into the first phase with preload and surcharge work at the 20th Street Connection starting in the coming weeks. This first phase will be completed by the ministry using local day-labour construction and hired equipment.”The Sustainable Environmental Network Society is holding a rally at the trail head of the BX Creek Park today at 10 a.m. in an effort to save the entire green space.

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