Council leaves landfill access at Owl Road

By James Peters
July 26, 2016 - 4:18pm Updated: July 26, 2016 - 5:33pm

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops council has put to rest a contentious traffic issue in Valleyview, keeping the access to the former Owl Road landfill where it is.

The city purchased the landfill last year, transforming it into the Kamloops Resource Recovery Centre, primarily meant to handle construction industry waste.

Council was considering several potential options for the access to the site, most notable moving it to Highland Road.

That pitted Valleyview residents who advocated for the move against Juniper Ridge residents, who saw a potential move as an unsafe incursion onto the only route into and out of their community.

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"We strongly urge city council to not sacrifice community, business and neighbourhood safety at any cost," said Valleyview Community Association President Jim Freathy at Tuesday's council meeting.

"The Valleyview Community Association, in conjunction with the Valleyview business community, strongly urge city council once and for all to live up to its obligations."

But the Valleyview position was rebutted by the residents of Juniper Ridge.

"We view Highland Road as our lifeline. Whatever happens on that road has a direct impact on every single resident of Juniper Ridge," said Juniper Ridge Community Association President Diane McKelvey.

"As our Valleyview neighbours have pointed out, if trucks coming out of the Resource Recovery Centre can't safely turn onto Valleyview Drive, they don't really want them there. Our point is the same. If trucks coming out of Resource Recovery Centre can't safely turn onto Highland, we don't want them there either."

Council opted to go with the recommendations made by city staff and engineers contracted from Urban Systems.

The final vote was 7-2 in favour of leaving the intersection where it is, with some safety modifications.

"If being in public office for 20 years has taught me anything, it's that your best when faced with complex traffic decisions, to have them not solved by a committee of non-engineers," said Councillor Ken Christian.

Though they left intersection where it is, council acknowledged the larger traffic flow situation in Valleyview will need to be addressed.

"I think that the biggest problem for Valleyview residents is the traffic on Valleyview Drive," said Councillor Tina Lange. "There's houses along there, and kids, and people do speed. If we could somehow reduce some of that traffic, reduce the speed, get some control over it, I think the Owl Road access is definitely the right way to go."

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