Locals lukewarm on McKenzie interchange proposals

Public engagement period closing soon for this stage of the proposal

Despite a renewed commitment to public consultation by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), the community associations directly impacted by the new McKenzie-Admirals Interchange are still hoping for a better design proposal than the three delivered on Nov. 17.

The good news for community associations is most believe they’ll continue to communicate with MOTI beyond the Dec. 11 deadline for public feedback on the project.

However, there is some concern that despite lengthy meetings with locals, the provincially tasked project group isn’t focused on the strategies set out over the past 20 years, said Rob Wickson, Gorge Tillicum Community Association president.

“If you look at the proposals, [MOTI] hasn’t given us three options, it’s one option with three designs,” Wickson said. “They haven’t really considered by any ranking system public transit, walkability or cycling, and the focus remains on single occupancy vehicles.”

Of the province’s three design proposals, two are known as diamond freeway interchanges, with the TCH running either under or above McKenzie-Admirals. The third is a partial cloverleaf that uses a portion of Cuthbert Holmes Park. None contain stop lights or future options for rapid transit besides the potential for a bus lane, which is short sighted, Wickson said.

Gorge Tillicum released a proposal of its own last month, it also supported an underpass for continuous TCH traffic. However, the underpass is only for continuous TCH westbound traffic, not eastbound. As Wickson points out, by retaining an eastbound TCH traffic light, it will calm the build up at Tillicum Road, which is sure to back up during peak hours once the McKenzie-Admirals light is removed.

“I go back to the first question I had on this project, what issues are we trying to solve,” Wickson said. “[If] Tillicum becomes a three or four light back up, [that becomes a] place commuters will try to escape from and find a through route on side roads.”

Feedback for the current McKenzie-Admirals Interchange is welcome until Dec. 11 through online feedback at engage.gov.bc.ca/mckenzieinterchange or by emailing mckenzieinterchange@gov.bc.ca.

Residents will be given another opportunity for feedback on the next phase of the project sometime in the spring.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com