Revelstoke council delays decision on highway intersection design

Mayor calls for special meeting on intersection. Consultant puts estimated cost at $2.1 million. Shell threatens legal action.

An image of the proposed layout for the highway intersection.

Revelstoke council pushed off a decision on the problematic Trans-Canada Highway intersection, citing fears over ballooning costs and worries the design won’t work.

A new report by McElhanney Consulting, the engineering firm hired to create a design for the new intersection and oversee its construction, estimates the cost of fixing the intersection at $2.1 million, and it also contains letters of opposition from affected businesses.

That had council call for a special meeting to discuss the intersection. It has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 4, at 3 p.m.

“I’m still not confident about this whole situation and where we’re going with it and what we’re doing,” said councillor Connie Brothers during Tuesday’s council meeting. I just want to make sure w’ere not putting a Band-Aid on something for that amount of money rather than dealing with the problem fully.”

The proposed design blocks left turns from Victoria Road to the Shell station, and from the Woodenhead Loop to Victoria Road. A roundabout would be built at Victoria Road and Wright Street to route traffic flow.

The final design makes minor changes to the plans presented at an open house in March. Notably, it modifies the access to the frontage road that passes the Shell Station, and improves pedestrian access to the Shell. It also scraps the proposed roundabout at Laforme Boulevard and Fraser Drive.

Significantly, McElhanney estimates the cost of the project at $2.1 million, far more than the $1.2 million the city has budgeted the work in its 2016–20 financial plan.

The city plans to use Development Cost Charge funds to pay for the work, but Graham Inglis, the city’s director of finance, said there’s only about $1 million in the DCC fund directed to the work.

A report by McLehanney says the proposed intersection would improve peak traffic flows to a rating of B, from a rating of E. A rating of A indicates free flowing traffic, while an F means gridlock.

The report addresses concerns raised at an open house held in March about snow removal and the ability of big trucks to navigate the Wright Street roundabout.

Council was split on whether or not to proceed on the revised design. Linda Nixon voted in favour of moving forward.

“I think we can not put off moving those people from Columbia Park back and forth safely to their neighbourhood,” she said. “I am concerned that if we do not take this forward today, then we are looking at next year before we come up with a solution.”

Mayor Mark McKee said he wasn’t “100 per cent happy” with the plan, especially with the potential $2.1 million price tag.

“I’m not going to vote in favour because I think we need a little bit more time and we need more massaging,” he said.

He proposed holding a special council meeting to discuss the proposal in more detail.

Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering, said he didn’t think the final cost would be as high as $2.1 million.

“I’d be really surprised if we went out to tender and received a price that high,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like $2.1 million worth of work.”

He warned that if council didn’t make a decision within the next month, it would be very difficult to finish the work by next summer. McElhanney recommends building the roundabout this year, with the work at Mutas Road to be completed in the spring of 2017.

Thomas said the city is looking for grant opportunities to help pay for the construction, and that it would be seeking a contribution from the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure.

The city had a gas tax grant application turned down.

In the end, McKee, Brothers, Sulz and English voted against approving the design, while Scott Duke, Nixon and Aaron Orlando voted for it.

One thing that’s not known at this point is how the changes address the concerns of existing businesses. The owners of Tim Hortons and Shell both submitted comments opposing the preliminary design, with Shell threatening legal action if it were to go through.

When asked about this, McKee responded: “I think that’s going to be part of council discussion on what it wants to do. I think we all have to realize that as a community, when you have a big problem like we have down there, to think you’re going to make 100 per cent of the people and businesses happy is going to be difficult.”

Thomas told the Review the city has not had follow-up meetings with Shell or Tim Hortons. “We haven’t gone back out to the stakeholders at this point. We want to bring these things to council first.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

Blotter bug
Updated: Highway 1 open near Revelstoke after morning crash

DriveBC says to watch for traffic congestion

The City of Revelstoke has launched a community well-being survey. (Contributed)
City launches community well-being survey

Everyone residing in Revelstoke aged 12 and over is invited to complete it

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

The body of Natsumi Kogawa, 30, was found in the Gabriola Mansion on Davie Street, Vancouver, in September 2016. Vernon man William Schneider, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, now awaits the decision of his appeal hearing Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
No decision yet for Vernon man appealing murder sentence

William Victor Schneider was convicted in relation to Natsumi Kowaga’s death in 2016

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Francophone school

École de L’Anse-au-sable is not affiliated with local SD23

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP received footage of a suspect vehicle littering hate flyers around 21st Avenue in Vernon Oct. 17, 2020. (RCMP)
WATCH: Footage offers lead in hate-fuelled flyer probe: Vernon Mounties

Vernon police received footage of an older model green truck distributing flyers in the early morning hours Saturday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An early morning fire destroyed the Willems Fire Products mill Friday, Oct. 16. (Contributed)
Fire claims longtime Lumby mill

Go Fund Me established to help family-owned business rebuild

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Charmaine Scherck with her fiancee, Jason. Friends of the Vernon mortgage broker have started a GoFundMe after a spinal cord stroke left her paralyzed from the chest down Sept. 17, 2020. (Contributed)
Funds raised for Vernon woman who awoke mysteriously paralyzed

Friends are rallying support for Charmaine Scherck, who suffered a spinal cord stroke on Sept. 17

Most Read