After receiving an abundance of feedback from the public, the majority of Salmon Arm council chose ‘Option 1’ as number one for the rehabilitation of Lakeshore Road.
Option 1 in the Lakeshore Road Stabilization Project includes reconstructing four kilometres of Lakeshore from 10th Avenue NE to 20th Avenue NE as a two-way ‘collector road,’ accompanied by a multi-use pathway.
The consultant’s report providing options for the road suggested constructing the path on the north side of the street and sliding the majority of the road to the south. Replacement of the aging water main along Lakeshore was also recommended “to avoid catastrophic failure.”
Option 1 would require the most land acquisition by the city in order to shift the road away from the steep terrain below. It is also the most expensive option at an estimated cost of $2.2 million.
Option 2 featured Lakeshore becoming a one-way local road, also with a multi-use path. It would involve little property acquisition and would cost an estimated $l.6 million.
At council’s April 26 meeting, city staff presented council with their recommendation – Option 1, which was also the preferred option of about 80 per cent of the close to 600 residents who responded to a request for input.
In staff’s report to council, Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, noted that residents whose property fronts on Lakeshore had a significantly different view than most. Although they weren’t strongly in favour of any option, Option 2 received the most positive feedback.
Council discussion included the history of distrust and bitterness from residents fronting Lakeshore after having had a portion of their property purchased by the city 30 years ago for road improvements, then with nothing significant being done.
Niewenhuizen’s report stated that despite property acquisition obstacles, staff are optimistic that the addition of the multi-use path, drainage and other improvements “will be incentives for homeowners to work cooperatively with the city.”
After discussions galore, all council members except Coun. Tim Lavery voted in favour of authorizing staff to proceed with preliminary design of Option 1.
Questions brought up included whether council could change course after the preliminary design is complete, how the multi-use pathway could be safely separated from the road, how residents would safely cross the redesigned road, how large vehicles could be restricted from the roadway and would the demand for an active transportation corridor (multi-use pathway) be honoured, no matter what.
Coun. Kevin Flynn said he agreed with Lavery, that the project must be done right – and that’s why the design is being left to engineers and technicians.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said she could see why, 35 years ago, this was an impossible conversation.
“Cart, horse, cart, horse… The only way the thing moves forward is we go to a design process. And a process where we say, yes our preference is Option 1. That’s what the engagement showed us. But we cannot know unless we move to the next step.”
Regarding next steps, Niewenhuizen said a preliminary design will determine what can be built there. Once a cost estimate is put together, the project would come back to council for the borrowing process.
In voting against Option 1, Lavery said he thinks it is safe to assume there will be more slope instabilities along Lakeshore, and planning for the future would include making Lakeshore a one-way road and starting to reroute traffic.
Mayor Alan Harrison referred to all the quality input received from residents, noting that the last time he remembers receiving so much was during the Smart Centre hearings. He also said if traffic is moved off Lakeshore, it’s not solving the problem, it’s just moving it somewhere else.