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$9.5 mil plan for Stickle

The Ministry of Transportation has come up with a $9.5 million solution to a dangerous intersection in Vernon, and it doesn't involve a traffic light.

Residents packed an open house at the Prestige Inn Thursday afternoon to see the third solution for Stickle Road at the north end of the city, where drivers must navigate several lanes of high speed traffic to make a left turn onto Highway 97 south back to town.

A team of ministry officials were on hand with a high-tech, 3-D version of the plan, which includes changes to both the intersection and an extension of 20th Street from behind the Rona store through to Stickle Road. Only southbound traffic would be allowed on the road, eliminating the need for the lefthand turn onto the highway.

There are also acceleration and deceleration lanes proposed for the west side of the highway.

“This is a good medium-term solution,” said Bob Fleming, electoral area B director. “The ministry is making a substantial investment to improve safety.”

“Although it doesn't allow for pedestrian access across the highway, there's never been pedestrian access across the highway so this doesn't change that aspect.”

Mayor Akbal Mund called it a “good compromise.”

“The ultimate would have been a light (at the intersection) but the ministry has further plans in their 20-year plan so it doesn't mean we can't have a light ten years from now.”

There was mixed reaction to the plan from people viewing the proposed solution, and filling in feedback forms.

“I think it's a long time coming,” said Dan Loewen, who owns property in the area.

He said the changes had been made in a thoughtful way but expressed concern the 20th Street connection would be one way only. 

Local resident Jane Marshall was worried about the BX Creek Wetlands project, home to many bird species.

“It's such a wonderful bird habitat,” said Marshall, adding that work on a 150-unit nearby seniors' complex and plans for 77 modular homes on 20th would also add to the traffic.

Marshall would prefer a traffic light.

A 20th Street resident, Bob Dilworth, is concerned about the amount of traffic that will end up using a through road.

"I think it creates a lot more traffic on the street that we live on," Dilworth said. "I think a light would solve the problem there and I think they've probably spent enough money on this project already to put a light in."

“I think it stinks,” said Armstrong resident Cy Degryse. “It is an ideal situation for a roundabout.”

Feedback to the ministry can be sent by email to [email protected] or online until June 10th.


Guilty plea in robbery spree

A Vernon man arrested following a string of robberies in the city in one day last January has pleaded guilty in provincial court.

Jeremiah Miller, 42, was arrested Jan. 28, following robberies at the 7-Eleven store on 39th Avenue, the Mac's convenience store on 27th Avenue and the Village Green Liquor Store.

The first robbery took place at 2 a.m. that morning while the last one occurred just before 9 p.m.

In two cases, police reported the robber produced a knife. Employees at two locations were threatened, according to RCMP information. In all three incidents, the robber took off with cash. No one was injured.

Police arrested Miller after a review of surveillance video and forensic evidence.

Miller pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery during a court appearance on Wednesday.

A date for sentencing has not been set.

Market brings night life

It's a once-a-month event.

This Friday, the first curbside night market takes place in downtown Vernon on 30th Avenue, between 6-9 p.m.

The market will be held just once a month in May, June, July and August and will feature a live band from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The block will be filled with late night shopping, community groups and street eats, says the Downtown Vernon Association.

This Friday, live music will be performed by Blackberry Wood – a high energy, cabaret style show.

Market stalls and shops will be open.

For more information the DVA website.

Ride of the century

The ride of the century will be taking place this weekend – again.

The 18th annual Okanagan Shuswap Century Ride happens Sunday, May 29.

The popular and adventurous cycling event attracts cyclists from all over the Okanagan and Kootenays as well as far away as Calgary and Vancouver. It starts and finishes at Memorial Park on Pleasant Valley Road in Armstrong.

Riders of all ages and abilities can tackle three distances – 14, 56 or 100 km, with riders starting in waves at 9 a.m.

Marshalls from Safety First of Armstrong will be directing traffic in key areas.

The grand prize is a cruiser bike, donated by Cyclepath Kelowna and Giant Bicycles.

For more information, please contact Lisa Jaffary at 250-861-5166, or [email protected]

To grant or not to grant

Vernon council has approved a one-time $4,000 grant to the Okanagan Military Tattoo Society.

The Military Tattoo, a musical extravaganza of pipers, drummers, military bands and marching will be performing at Kal Tire Place on July 23 and 24.

The funds were requested in order to help meet the cost of renting the arena.

But Coun. Bob Spiers was concerned that could set a precedent and Mayor Akbal Mund agreed.

In the end, wording was changed to ensure rental costs were not mentioned.

Other groups to receive one-time grants include:

  • Community Futures $1,400
  • North Okanagan Artists Alternative $5,000
  • Powerhouse Theatrical Society $2,500
  • United Way North Okanagan $5,224
  • Vernon Concert Band Society $1,360

Council denied grants to:

  • Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band
  • Kidney Foundation of Canada – B.C. & Yukon branch
  • North Okanagan Pipes & Drums Society
  • Schubert Centre Society

PayByPhone parking

The Downtown Vernon Association has welcomed a council decision that will allow drivers to use their cell phones to pay for street parking.

The City has agreed to swallow 10 pennies of the 35 cent transaction fee, the rest of which will be paid for by drivers.

“We were concerned that to break the 25 cent threshold would discourage people from using the system,” said Lara Konkin, DVA executive director.

Konkin said she will be working with staff from the city and bylaws department and would hope the system could be put in place soon.

The city is set to sign a five-year contract with PayByPhone, the company that will run the financial transactions.

The service will allow people who are running late at meetings and appointments, or just enjoying the downtown to receive an email stating their parking time is running out and to top up the payment to avoid getting a parking ticket. 

Serious injuries in accident

A single-vehicle accident on Commonage Road sent a 35-year-old Vernon man to hospital with serious injuries early Thursday morning.

Vernon Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Jack Blair said the accident happened at 1:30 a.m. and involved a small pick-up truck.

“We had one person with critical injuries who was taken to hospital,” said Blair.

Vernon RCMP said speed and alcohol have not been ruled out and the accident is under investigation.


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