The Community felt that $35,000 needed to be spent on Killiney Beach Park
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LAST UPDATE January 25, 2015
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Westside Rd not Safe for GranFondo I attended a town meeting (apr 28th) hosted by Jim Edgson of the Regional District of Central Okanagan. The meetings purpose was to inform Westside road residents of the upcoming “ RBC GranFondo” cycling event. This is a one day 140km bicycle ride involving 1500 cyclists starting in Kelowna continuing through Vernon and south again down Westside road and back to Kelowna. The goal of GranFondo is to increase this number to 5000 over the couple of years and make this an annual event . This information was emailed to me by Alison Liebel Systems Manager at RBC GranFondo, Kelowna. (Please keep in mind this is a business, NOT a non-profit group). I believe this is a great event and I am not in any way trying to undermine the good things that GranFondo brings to the community. The problems I have are with the choice of Westside rd as their route and there are several serious issues that have been overlooked or ignored by the promoters of the event. The big one is safety. They intend to CLOSE the southbound side of Westside rd from approximately 9am until sometime in the afternoon on Sat July 16th and use it strictly for cyclists. Westside rd is the ONLY way to get from Vernon to Kelowna on the west side of the lake, there are no alternate or detour routes available, they don’t exist. There are two major Provincial parks on Westside rd, Fintry and Bear Creek as well as a few other campsites. July 16th is a very busy time for these parks and they are fully booked for that weekend which means lots of Motor home and RV traffic are only able to use the northbound lane. These two major parks cater to large RVs, Trailers, boats, and Motorhomes. Westside road is a treacherous rd as it is. Many sections are very narrow and have no railings or even shoulders, and drop-offs are steep and unforgiving. The question was put to the organizer, Kevin Thomson, as to why he chose the southbound route of Westside rd for the event. His response was that the “northbound route would be far to dangerous for cyclists” due to the above-mentioned facts. The point is, yes it is “Very Dangerous” but it is also extremely dangerous to the traffic and Rvs forced to the outside lane by 1500 cyclists. This number will grow to 5000 in future years. The second safety issue is Fire protection and Emergency services. Both lanes of Westside rd will be jammed with either bikes or cars with “no” room to pull over in many spots severely crippling our emergency services. Our volunteer fire dept has been “hired and paid “ by GranFondo” to remain at the fire halls. I was not aware until yesterday that our Emergency services could be hired by private citizens, or companies for the day. Wayne Carson, fire chief of the Westside volunteer fire department has assured me that fire response time should be better, due to the fire fighters remaining at the fire hall. He did however agree that Ambulance and police services from Kelowna or Vernon will be severely hampered. There are a few more reasons why Westside rd is a bad choice for this venue. Westside rd is loaded with large potholes fallen rocks, an amazing amount of deer (a major road hazard any time of day) and Bighorn sheep that move for nobody. The Fintry Edwardian Fair celebrating BC Parks 100th anniversary is being held on July16th. The Friends of Fintry have spent hundreds of man-hours into planning and fundraising for this event for the benefit of the general public. They are expecting 500-700 people to turn up as well as food vendors, bands etc. This adds more traffic to Westside rd. The road being blocked will definitely affect the turnout for this long planned event as potential visitors from Vernon , Armstrong, as well as other communities to the north will be blocked. I would also anticipate that visitors would avoid attending due to the danger and congestion caused by the cyclists There are at least 3 afternoon weddings on Westside rd that weekend that I know of. Both are being catered and mostly attended from the Vernon side of Westside road, now to be closed to traffic. This involves about 210 people that will now have to commute though Kelowna, (easily adding 1 ½ hrs to the trip) Vernon may lose the catering and rental business for these 2 weddings. Brides may have to cancel their Vernon arrangements, lose deposits, and make new arrangements in Kelowna including hotel reservations for guests, catering, etc. I cannot believe that Jim Edgson of the Regional District would approve of such a potentially dangerous route to be used for this venue. Cyclists, motorists and residents of Westside rd. are all at greater risk. Maybe we could all email him and ask him why. jim.edgson "at" cord.bc.ca
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Westside Road Gossip
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