Naturalists oppose Stickle Frontage Road connection

Naturalists in Vernon hope to divert a road project and protect a wetland. Jim Lenton/ Global Okanagan

VERNON, B.C. – Plans to upgrade an intersection north of Vernon have already stirred up a lot of controversy.

This past spring, the Ministry of Transportation unveiled a third proposal for the intersection of Stickle Road and Highway 97 after the first two were widely criticized.

Now the North Okanagan Naturalists Club is raising a new concern about the latest design which calls for a new street connecting the Stickle Frontage Road with 20th Street.

The club doesn’t want to see a new road built as part of the project.

Read More: Traffic lights at Stickle Road cheaper but ‘not appropriate’: province

It argues doing so will essentially destroy a local wetland which is also a popular recreation area.

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“The wetland would essentially be nothing more than just a ditch on either side of the road. There would be so little left of it that I wouldn’t think that anyone would call it a wetland anymore,” said club president Harold Sellers.

Sellers says his group would support a traffic light at Stickle Road.

Read More: ‘They’ve got to have a light’: third Stickle Road plans draws criticism

The Ministry of Transportation says it is still planning to go ahead with building a connecting road with a mitigation plan in place.

“As part of the proposed design, the Ministry has conducted an environmental assessment to consider the impacts to the BX Creek Corridor of any work in the area and has developed a mitigation plan that includes an improved fish habitat, planting of native plants, removal of invasive species and the installation of bird and bat nesting boxes,” wrote a ministry spokesperson in an emailed statement.

The naturalists’ online petition has over 200 signatures.

The province has yet to set a date to start construction on the project.

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