Controversial Vernon area intersection upgrades set to begin

Controversial Vernon area intersection upgrades set to begin
By Megan Turcato North Okanagan Reporter
Global News 18 April 2018

Upgrades to make the intersection of Stickle Road and Highway 97 safer are set to begin next week.

The start of the project just north of Vernon comes after years of controversy.

There have been public consultations and the province has developed at least three different plans for the intersection.

However, what none of those plans included was what many local businesses wanted: a traffic light.

Instead, the planned upgrades solve the problem of dangerous left turns off of Stickle Road onto the highway by simply not allowing them.

At one nearby business, it’s left some feeling like the province wasn’t listening.

“It is just a little disheartening that we spend all the money and have all the open houses and everything and all the people come to voice their opinions and yet their opinions don’t seem like they are honestly listened to,” Randy James, general manager of Vernon Motorsports, said.

However, the province said it took the public consultation very seriously.

“We specifically had our design reviewed by an independent engineering firm,” Steve Sirett from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said.

“The review did come out saying that the signal would lead to an increase in rear-end collisions and supported the design that we are now moving forward with.”

Since left turns onto the highway will be blocked, the upgrades include a new road connection from Stickle Frontage Road to 20 Street to help motorists get back into Vernon.

However, that too, has been controversial because it involved the destruction of wetland.

“It is pretty much decimated. There is a little bit still around the creek but nothing like it used to be,” Harold Sellers, the former president of the
North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club, said.

However, the province said new wetland, three times larger than what was lost, will be created near Swan Lake. For Sellers, it’s a net positive.

“We would have preferred to have kept the original wetland of course, but the work that is going to be done at Swan Lake will be very beneficial,” Sellers said.

Nest a real 'chick magnet'

Nest a real 'chick magnet'
Josh Winquist - Apr 13, 2018

Don't wait too long to swoop in, this new, move-in-ready dwelling in the North Okanagan won't be empty for long.

A brand new, spacious aerie has just become available on the east side of Swan Lake.

Being billed as a real chick magnet, this nest offers a 360-degree birdseye view of Swan Lake and the surrounding area.

The developers hope to attract a pair willing to make this perch their home.

On April 6, a new osprey nesting platform and pole was erected. A similar structure collapsed due to age and wood rot in the last year.

The replacement structure was designed to look like a nest, with wood branches secured on top of the platform to attract osprey.

Ospreys are one of a wide range of waterfowl and other birds who make the Swan Lake foreshore their home.

The new nest was made possible with efforts from North Okanagan Naturalists' Club, Aerial Contractors who provided the specialized equipment and a crew to carry out this work, and the property owner who allowed the nest to be set up.

Naturalists build osprey nesting platform

Naturalists build osprey nesting platform
Salmon Arm Observer
April 8, 2018

North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club members and Aerial Contractors Ltd. built a nest near Swan Lake

A local club is working hard to help Swan Lake fowl.

The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club alongside a two-person crew from Aerial Contractors Ltd. of Salmon Arm installed an osprey — one of a wide range of waterfowl and other birds who call Swan Lake home — nesting platform and pole on the east side of Swan Lake April 6.

“This replaces a similar structure installed in 1994 which collapsed due to age and wood rot in the past year,” said Rod Drennan, one of three club volunteers who participated in the installation.

“The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club would like to acknowledge and thank Aerial Contractors for their generous contribution of specialized equipment and a crew to carry out this work.”