A group of Peachland residents want a bypass built around the community

A group of Peachland residents want a bypass built around the community

Informal count shows big increase in traffic through Peachland

Citizens' group hopes new data will prompt government to study highway bypass around community

Traffic volume through Peachland has increased 10 per cent in the past year, according to a count conducted by a citizens’ group that’s asking the government to consider a new highway bypass around the community.

Volunteers for the Highway 97 Task Force Society surveyed traffic on Drought Hill just north of Peachland from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on a Friday in late July. They counted a total of 20,307 vehicles pass by in both directions, according to Bert Put, who co-ordinated the effort.

“It’s certainly not a scientific way of determining this, but it gives you a good idea,” said the retired engineer.

Put compared the data to a count conducted in the same location on a Friday in July 2012  by the B.C. Transportation Ministry that tallied 18,404 vehicles.

The 600-member task force is worried that, when the time comes for road work, the B.C. government will simply widen the existing highway to four lanes rather than build a bypass.

Not only would that impact the character of Peachland, Put added, but it would also affect the lakefront that runs from Antlers Beach to Drought Hill.

“That’s the longest public beach in all of the Okanagan and we want to preserve that,” he said.

Put would prefer a seven-kilometre bypass that veers off the highway near Greta Ranch south of Peachland and hooks up with Highway 97 C south of West Kelowna.

Armed with the new traffic data, the task force will now ask the Transportation Ministry to conduct a business case to study that proposal.

Ministry spokesperson Kate Trotter said in a statement that all options are still on the pavement.

“The ministry has not made any decisions regarding the long-term plans for the highway with regards to whether future four-laning is completed on the current alignment or along a new route,” she said.

Trotter didn’t specify a timeline for when those decisions would be made, nor if a business case would be initiated.

“As with any project, future work would have to be looked at in context with broader priorities,” she said.

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton said he’s met with ministry staff to explain Peachland’s desire for the new route.

“During the election process, I heard loud and clear they want that bypass, they want that study, and they want to get it done as soon as possible,” he said.

Ashton plans to bring the the request for a business case to a future meeting with the transportation minister, “and we’ll see where it fits into their budgetary process,” he said. “I don’t know when that will be though.”

When the new four-lane section of Highway 97 between Oyama and Winfield opens today, the stretch through Peachland will be the last two-lane portion of the route between Vernon and Penticton.



Just Posted

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Penticton man takes the plunge for recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read