Thursday, May 3, 2007

SW Bypass Some Changes Made

I just got back from attending an invite only preview of the public open house that is being held tonight for the SW Bypass.

I was pleased to see that changes had been made and now none of the three options for the road alignment go through the Wapiti Nordic Ski area. That's good news and it looks like 'the system' worked just like it is supposed to. People saw something they didn't like, provided feedback to both the consultants and the government and changes were made.

It was a little funny actually, during the opening of the presentation Hasan, the lead consultant from ISL, said "We were silly enough to show the road running through the Wapiti Nordic Ski Trails in the first revision - you'll notice that that has been changed in these drafts."

The City's other concern, addressing a second crossing over the Wapiti river, was echoed by a number of people. It seemed as though the general consensus in the room was that it would only make sense to consider the option that I posted on previously. Unfortunately, it seems as though the study that ISL was hired by the province to do had set parameters: Connect highway 43 to highway 40 at some point south of the city and north of the river.

Apparently there is another study commissioned by the province that will look at the portion of highway 40 starting from about the Wapiti Ski Trails and extending south across the river. Would seem to me to make sense to do both of those studies at the same time - maybe a little more efficient?

In the end it sounds like this road is a long way off anyhow, the province wants to have an alignment designed so they can start protecting the land that it will require. In essence that means keeping people from building subdivisions where the road will go so there aren't conflicts in the future.

Still, with these kind of things it's important that we get out and make sure the design is what we want as a community. Once these studies are written and a "preferred option" is chosen it can have an impact even if they don't bring our the bulldozers the next day.

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