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Lake Placid upgrade may have to wait another year


Intrawest’s decision to delay work on the Lake Placid Road and Highway 99 Intersection at Creekside for another year has thrown a spanner into municipal plans to proceed with upgrades to Lake Placid Road west of the highway.

Merchants have been calling for basic improvements to the section of Lake Placid Road from the Husky gas station down past Hoz’s for the last seven years.

There is $850,000 sitting in municipal coffers for the upgrade to be done this year and there is money available from B.C. Hydro, but as yet, there have been no calls for tender.

Now is the time of year road projects and tenders traditionally get under way.

Municipal staff, however, are not ready to comment on whether the project or a portion of it will in fact proceed this year.

Councillor Kristi Wells, who has spoken out in support of the Creekside merchants’ plight in the past, is also uncertain as to whether the project, or a version of it, will proceed this year.

"It’s been budgeted for this year. I certainly support it and there were no other thoughts around not doing it until Intrawest changed their plans, again."

She said Intrawest’s decision to delay its work until 2002 is now forcing municipal staff to rethink their plans.

Wells said the upgrade has been put off for the past three years so that it could be co-ordinated with the Intrawest realignment of the intersection. She noted it would be a bad business decision to carry out work that may have to be ripped up the following year.

"I do see value in co-ordinating with Intrawest but, although it would be more efficient, it is not really like there would be duplication. So, from my perspective I can’t see why we wouldn’t go ahead."

But Wells said she needs to hear from staff what the actual costs savings of co-ordinating the work would be before she can make a decision.

She and other councillors will likely have that opportunity in May.

Wells said staff will probably come before council and either ask for tender approval or recommend a wait of a year. "Then that debate will take place at council."

She doesn’t anticipate this happening before the end of May but she said this would still leave enough time to do the upgrade should that be the decision.

Gord McKeever of the Creekside Merchants’ Association said the plans he has seen outline work only to the west of Husky and Southside Deli. He doesn’t see that any work would necessarily conflict with Intrawest’s plans for the intersection. He feels the upgrade should still proceed.

The original plans for the redevelopment of Lake Placid road were drawn up several years ago and included curbs, gutters, sidewalks and underground wiring.

McKeever said he hopes at least some version of this work will happen this year. "We don’t need the Yellow Brick Road kind of treatment, just the basic needs," he said.

"This job just keeps getting put off and off and off but the needs are there now. It has got nothing to do with future growth. It has everything to do with current use," said McKeever.

"We have got so much traffic on this road with pedestrians and cars that streetlights and sidewalks would be commensurate with current use. This has nothing to do with the development across the street (Creekside base). That is the whole point here," he said.

"Because it has been neglected for 20 years it has become a big deal but what needs doing here is basic stuff. The fancy stuff can come after. What has got me annoyed is that there is a lack of planning here that is so shoddy it wouldn’t survive a minute anywhere else in the valley. You try and pull these stunts in the Benchlands and you would be handed your head in you hat."

McKeever said he is not trying to cry poor. "I am just fed up with what, to me, is a common sense issue. It is being treated as a big special deal and it shouldn’t be. It is the right thing for here. Anywhere else it would have been the thing that had happened over time."

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