Coun­cil balks at in­ter­change on Boucherie

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By RON SEY­MOUR

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.

Con­trib­uted photo

This draw­ing from the min­istry of trans­porta­tion shows what the Boucherie Road High­way 97 in­ter­change could look like.

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