There will be some short-term pain for long-term gain on Highway 6 this summer as two projects will make the road safer.
Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure said close to $3 million in resurfacing improvements are on the way for Highway 6.
The projects begin approximately 35 kilometres east of Lumby.
"The improvements to Highway 6 will help keep our local, commercial and tourist traffic safe as they travel along B.C.'s interior." said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster.
Under the first project, O.K. Industries Ltd. has been awarded a $1.5-million contract to seal-coat an 11-kilometre section of highway from Creighton Valley Road to the Gold Pan Café and a 20-kilometre section from West Kettle Forest Service Road to Lightning Peak Road.
A $1.3-million contract has been awarded to Okanagan Aggregates Ltd. for the second project, which involves paving approximately nine kilometres of highway between the Gold Pan Café and West Kettle Forest Service Road.
Concern is growing among Alpine Centre merchants about the impact an extensive road project will have on their businesses.
Work is scheduled to take place on Kalamalka Road from Alpine Centre to 14th Avenue for five months this year, starting in April.
And for two of those months, the city may close the road completely between Browne Road and Alpine Centre.
Dave Straughan, owner of Uncle Dave's Pizzeria, said the closure could have a devastating impact on the 41 Alpine Centre businesses.
Straughan said the roadwork will be done during prime tourism season and will impact business no matter what, but to divert all traffic from the area for eight weeks will be difficult to survive.
So, Straughan has launched a petition to have the city have single-lane alternating traffic throughout the work project.
“There are 41 businesses in here, and if they don't think it will effect us, it is,” said Straughan, who has been in the centre for 22 years.
“I would like to see alternating traffic. As long as we're getting our share of the traffic coming through, which is fine, but just to block it off totally is just not right.”
Straughan has collected dozens of names on the petition that he plans to present to city officials Monday.
Mayor Akbal Mund pointed out the road closure has not yet been finalized and if the majority of businesses want alternating traffic, he will support them, but there are other factors to consider.
Mund said alternating traffic would extend the amount of time it takes to complete the road work and would backup traffic at both ends of the project.
“If the majority of businesses want the road to stay open that's fine, but we don't want to hear a lot of bellyaching from people about backed up traffic,” he said.
Bald may be beautiful, but not when it comes to tires.
During a recent traffic safety blitz, Vernon RCMP found several vehicles with poor tires, including one that was nearly slick.
“One Vernon man was stopped driving down the highway with extremely bald tires. He was on his way to a local tire shop to work. He told officers he had difficulty even driving out of his driveway that morning on the tires,” said Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy. “Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP are reminding drivers that the daytime melting snow mixed with the nighttime freezing temperatures means local roads are far from ideal, and commutes in the morning and after 5 p.m. are often mixed with icy road conditions.”
On Feb. 17, members of the North Okanagan Traffic Services teamed up with Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement and conducted a vehicle safety blitz on Highway 6 near Kalamalka Road.
Noseworthy said that day was "exceptionally icy" due to recent snow melt and hundreds of vehicles were checked for vehicle fitness. Along with handing out fines, some vehicles were pulled from the road because of safety concerns
“CVSE officers even located a trailer being pulled down Highway 6 with a wheel falling off,” said Noseworthy.
“It is the responsibility of every driver to ensure their vehicle is equipped properly, and they are driving safely.”
The North Okanagan Canada Day Society is looking for people to lend a hand at Canada's 150th birthday.
The 2016 Canada Day celebrations involved daytime activities in Polson Park and evening fireworks on Kalamalka Lake, and the society aims to build on the success of last year's celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday.
Volunteers are needed for numerous positions, ranging from executive membership to just lending a helping hand.
“This year is Canada's 150th anniversary and Vernon's 125th anniversary,” said Dave Frost, current society president. “Canada Day 2016 was a stunning success and I anticipate that 2017 will be the biggest and best Canada Day celebration ever.”
Frost is asking anyone who wants to volunteer for the 2017 celebrations to attend the AGM at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the People Place at 3402 27 Avenue.
“I'm very excited to be taking part in this historic celebration,” said Scott Anderson, city councillor and council liaison to the society. “I was so impressed with what Dave and his team achieved last year, and look forward to an even bigger and better celebration this year.”
A robbery charge has been laid against a man in Vernon, a year and a half after the crime took place.
In August 2015, a 20-year-old woman who was sleeping in her vehicle in a parking lot near 30th Street and 29th Avenue, was awoken when a man smashed her window.
The man reached into the car and tried to grab her purse and phone .
The woman, attempting to hold on to her possessions, was dragged through the broken window and assaulted, before the man took off on a bike with the stolen items.
On Feb. 6, 2017, 31-year-old Shane Gaudry, who is currently in custody on another matter, was charged with the 2015 robbery.
Police have not said what evidence led to the charge.
Gaudry is scheduled to appear in court on March 6.
Gaudry has an extensive criminal record, dating back to a sexual interference of a person under 16 conviction in 2006.
There will be more public consultation on the controversial topic of whether or not boating should be controlled along the Shuswap River.
A public meeting is expected by mid-March, said Herman Halvorson, Electoral Area F director.
Halvorson said he has had “a lot of inquiries, a lot of people phoning me.”
An outside consultant was hired last year to calm the waters stirred up over proposed boating regulations on the river.
Recommended regulations unveiled last year prompted thousands of responses. In June, a survey showed views had become polarized.
Alex Grzybowski of Pacific Resolutions is handling this second phase of public consultation.
“(The public) will be able to comment through different individuals who are on the advisory committee or at the end of the day they can put in their own submission through email,” said Halvorson. “The consultant should have it all summarized hopefully by June and then where it goes from there, when it gets presented – it could go to Transport Canada and who knows how long it will take?”
Pollution, noise, safety concerns, bank erosion and critical salmon spawning grounds were some of the big issues looked at when the proposed regulations were considered.
Snowmobilers will be hitting the hills and raising funds this weekend.
The inaugural Sled for Eternity BC takes place at the Soveriegn Lake snowmobile area Saturday.
Money raised from the event will go to the Adult and Teen Challenge Society of B.C. for its Winfield operations, said organizer Lance Marais.
Registration for the event takes place at the Village Green Hotel from 8-10 a.m. Participants will then head to the snowmobile area where members of the Vernon Snowmobile Association will lead tours of the area.
Registration is $50 which includes prizes, lunch and a buffet dinner in the evening.
Participants are also encouraged to raise money for the society with the most raised winning a 2016 snowmobile and enclosed trailer.
“Everyone who participates will get some sort of prize,” said Marais, adding the money raised from the event stays in the Okanagan.
For more information, call Marais at 778-255-3053.
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