Coming improvements to Highway 97 through Peachland is good news to district council, but there are still concerns about speed limits.
A Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) delegation presented the Central Okanagan Integrated Transportation Study to council at its March 14 meeting.
Council heard that detailed design is underway to eventually install traffic signals for Trepanier Road and the highway.
“It’s many, many millions of dollars to fix that intersection,” said Steve Sarret, executive director MOTI Southern Interior. “We’re not just talking about a signal, we’re talking about access improvements and improvements at other intersections as well.”
No timeline was given for work to begin. A protected ‘T’ intersection at Renfrew Road has also been identified as a ministry priority.
Coun. Keith Thom brought up concerns about speed limits on the highway.
“We have this sort of speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down throughout the town. It would just make sense to me to have slow down as the priority.”
Thom added council recently turned down a housing development due to safety concerns about accessing the highway.
Mayor Patrick Van Minsel noted that in a meeting with MOTI Minister Rob Fleming, speed limits from Princeton Avenue to Antlers Beach might be considered for reduction.
“To bring it down and also help us with access to the highway with developments that are proposed there,” added Van Minsel.
Development along the route was also a concern for Coun. Doug Collins.
“Highway 97 in its current form through Peachland is stifling economic development,” he said. “Here we are with development applications and we’re worried about the safety of that and so are the residents.”
Collins added that having the ministry’s help in addressing those challenges would benefit the community and also to satisfy the provincial mandate to increase housing.
A bypass route, above Highway 97, is still on the table but is part of a longer-term plan, closer to 2040, according to Sarret.
Mayor Van Minsel also told council that money is coming soon from MOTI to help complete the Westside Trail, connecting Peachland to West Kelowna and out the W.R. Bennett Bridge.