Brad DeMille has a plan – and it doesn’t involve situating his business at the end of a dead-end road.
As owner of DeMille’s Farm Market, he brought a diagram of a highway design to the city’s planning meeting Monday.
DeMille’s diagram was in response to a drawing that Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure officials showed in late summer to a few business people who could be affected by a redesign of the Trans-Canada. The ministry redesign would accommodate a new bridge over the Salmon River as well as four-laning.
DeMille expressed strong concerns over the ministry’s plan, including the effect on his business that depends partially on highway traffic. He said it could also have a negative effect radiating to many people as the redesign would go through half a dozen homes as well as a chicken farm.
The drawing the DeMilles have seen would put in a frontage road on the south side of the highway that would go past Pedro Gonzales Fruit and Garden, and then dead-end at DeMille’s. The realignment would also take out part of the family’s field by the traffic light at Walmart.
In response, DeMille’s diagram shows a new Salmon River Bridge to the north of the existing one, which would serve to straighten out the curve. Then a frontage road would run parallel to the highway, with an access road off the highway between DeMille’s and Pedro’s.
The road would continue past DeMille’s and over the river via a second two-lane bridge that would lead to Silver Creek and connect with 10th Avenue SW.
DeMille’s diagram sticks with a two-lane highway, not four lanes as proposed by the ministry.
“It’s a behemoth that in this time and age is unaffordable…,” he said. “For the volume of traffic we get, this kind of system isn’t required… Maybe a phase one or two or three thing.”
He said he expects Dale Ruth at Pedro’s is concerned as well, with the road ending up 10 feet from their new sliding door.
Brad’s father Rodger also expressed indignation, and asked why his three acres in the Agricultural Land Reserve are part of the ministry’s plan.
“I’ll be shot dead before that happens,” he declared. “They’re supposed to be preserving the farm land.”
Council offered sympathies as well as suggestions.
Mayor Nancy Cooper said it’s not right that the ministry plan would hurt DeMille’s when the market donated land to the ministry for the turning lane. She noted the ministry told council in September the designs are preliminary, and public meetings will be held for input.
Coun. Alan Harrison said a win-win must be found because the city doesn’t want the ministry to go away and spend its money elsewhere.
Coun. Chad Eliason suggested that city staff look at plans for its transportation network with an eye to submitting a design to the ministry that feeds into DeMille’s proposal.
Both Coun. Marg Kentel and Debbie Cannon suggested that the DeMilles and Ruths get together, Kentel suggesting they meet with city staff before Nov. 10, when ministry staff are expected to come to the council meeting.