Council balks at interchange on Boucherie
The idea of a new interchange being built at Highway 97 and Boucherie Road has members of West Kelowna city council going in different directions.
Led by Mayor Doug Findlater, a majority of council objects to the Ministry of Transportation’s plan for a major new interchange at that location.
Concerns include West Kelowna becoming a community of interchanges, and the likelihood of many motorists detouring onto residential side streets to avoid the years-long work zone.
“The ministry’s continuing to drive the Boucherie Road interchange forward is very, very concerning,” Findlater said at Tuesday’s council meeting.
“Watch Boucherie, Hudson, Sneena, Stevens, Shannon Lake, Westlake and Parkinson (roads) turn into another bypass,” Findlater said.
“If the ministry is really intent on doing this, we should ask for some help in upgrading these other roads that are going to take the brunt of traffic avoiding, for four years, a construction zone,” Findlater said.
“We need to draft a letter stating that we are really not in favour of that interchange project. We have to start being really vocal about this,” Coun. Rosalind Neis said.
But Coun. Rick de Jong re-affirmed his support of an interchange at Highway 97 and Boucherie Road, to follow ones previously built where the highway intersects Campbell Road and Westside Road.
“If we can get provincial money to improve our intersections along Highway 97 to increase safety for the 80 per cent plus people who live in West Kelowna and work in Kelowna, in my mind, why wouldn’t we support that?” de Jong said.
The ministry hosted public information sessions on the proposed Highway 97-Boucherie Road interchange last May. Although planning and engineering work is underway, ministry officials said there was no timetable to actually start building the interchange.
Three-quarters of the 400 people who attended the public information sessions were strongly in favour of building an interchange at Highway 97 and Boucherie Road, the ministry says.
In a letter to council, Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the corner of Highway 97 and Boucherie is “one of the most collision-prone locations” west of the W.R. Bennett bridge, and that more public meetings on the possibility of building an interchange there will be held in late summer.
This drawing from the ministry of transportation shows what the Boucherie Road Highway 97 interchange could look like.