MOT listens to Gallagher Lake
The Ministry of Transportation has agreed to look into the highway safety concerns raised by Gallagher Lake residents north of Oliver.
Operations manager Jeff Wiseman told a group of residents on Monday that he will speak to engineers about doing a traffic count to determine if a pedestrian crosswalk is warranted.
Residents also want 60 km/h signs to slow traffic down through Gallagher Lake.
Monday’s meeting at Ye Olde Welcome Inn attracted officials from the regional district and the RCMP.
It started with residents’ concerns about reported damage (foundation cracks) to various structures as a result of recent construction work on Gallagher Lake Frontage Road.
Local business owner Scot Hutchinson said his shop and house sustained cracks caused by heavy machinery vibration.
Despite many businesses negatively impacted by the work, the issue has “fallen on deaf ears,” Hutchinson said.
Another concern from residents is the perception that they are being forced to hook up to the new water/sewer infrastructure – the subject of construction work along Gallagher Lake Frontage Road.
But Doug French, public works manager for the regional district, said they are not forcing Gallagher Lake residents to hook up to the new system, which was designed to supply water/sewer service to Deer Park Estates.
French said the regional district will be providing information to Gallagher Lake residents to determine if they want to hook into the system.
But some residents want to continue using their water wells and don’t want to pay the costly ($7,500) hook-up fees for the new infrastructure.
According to Hutchinson, the contractor trespassed on properties and dug up yards without notice.
French said he would look into the damage issue with the contractor and the insurance adjustor.
The highway safety issue dominated most of the meeting time. Hutchinson said the new McIntyre passing lane project has significantly increased speeds through the community. He noted that residents want to see 60 km/h signs at the north and south end of Gallagher Lake, along with school bus signs. Furthermore, they want street lights and a pedestrian-controlled crosswalk.
Residents are also calling for at least one more entrance to the frontage road in order to decrease the congestion at the existing entrance.
Hutchinson said large vehicles have difficulty navigating the new intersection, resulting in them backing up onto the highway in order to make the turn.
Wiseman said signs generally don’t solve problems, referring to the desired 60 km/h signs that residents want. He noted that a lot of motorists simply ignore these signs. But he stated the ministry will install the pedestrian warning sign that was there before.
In addition, the ministry will be installing a street light in the area by May of next year, Wiseman said. He also indicated the ministry will have another look to see if it can improve the “tight” intersection at Gallagher Lake Frontage Road.
One resident with a disability said he can’t safely walk across the highway because there is no crosswalk. Another resident asked how many people have to die before safety is improved in Gallagher Lake. (Last year a 46-year-old resident was killed after she was struck by a motorist in this area.)
Regional district spokesman Andrey Stuckey urged residents to get in touch with MLA Linda Larson and Area C director Allan Patton.
“It’s going to take a political solution to get it done,” Stuckey said.
In the meantime, residents asked the RCMP to keep their eye on speed limits in the area.