District of Peachland staff and council continue to push the province to improve safety along Highway 97 through the community.
Black Press Media spoke to District CAO, Joe Creron, after a fatal collision on Drought Hill the evening of Jan. 25.
“First, let me say on behalf of the district and council and our community, our sincere condolences to the family,” said Creron.
“We have concerns about the safety of our highway and the district has been asking for a reduction in speed. I’m not sure if that would have been the determining factor in the collision that happened last night.”
Creron added that, in the last two weeks, the district again requested a meeting with the minister of transportation and infrastructure (MOTI).
He noted the district has received several complaints from the community about speeding, and that the ministry has been reluctant to reduce speed limits on the highway.
“That’s one of the reasons why our mayor has requested a meeting.”
Creron said the district would like to see lower and variable speeds starting from the Highway 97/97C interchange, all the way through Peachland.
“We’re going to leave that up to the traffic experts as well as safety, but we will probably give our advice,” he explained.
The district has been asking MOTI for years to reduce speed limits, and the ministry has provided plans to improve safety at several intersections along the highway.
“Which is fantastic, they’re improving safety,” said Creron. “We’re not satisfied with all their designs…but the intent is to improve safety.”
“We also want to say to the minister you have great plans but no budget. You don’t have to do it all at once but let’s see what we can do to slowly improve safety.”
According to statistics provided by ICBC, there have been more than 180 crashes between the Highway 97/97C interchange to Hardy Road at Antlers Beach from 2017 to 2022.
More than 150 of those resulted in injuries or fatalities.
Creron added that council also wants to keep the potential for a bypass route around Peachland in front of MOTI.
“We want to make sure we keep talking about that because it’s an important part of this whole safety plan.”