Better access needed

We are getting pretty use to fires now, even though they are always scary.

But the small fire near Peachland recently did something huge. It severed access between two major population centres… no wait. It severed the link between the South Okanagan and the Central Okanagan. And it did this during peak tourist season.

We need a second major highway to connect the South and Central Okanagan.

Remember when Westside Road slid into the lake and traffic to Lake Okanagan Resort and other residences in the area was severed for months on end?

I was coming up from Osoyoos to Kelowna about 20 minutes after the fire happened and was turned around.

My option was this. Drive all the way back down to Osoyoos, cut across to Rock Creek and then drive all the way up Highway 33 and then cut across Kelowna to my home in the Mission. That was about a three-and-a-half-hour detour.

From where I got turned around, I was only 20 minutes from home at worst.

We can’t continue to have only one way to go somewhere.

If a major fire broke out and we had to vacate the area but that one single point of retreat was blocked off, then how many lives would be lost? This was a tiny fire at best, and look how much havoc it created.

Our valley's road systems need a major overhaul. We need overpasses, six-lane bridges with six lanes coming and going from those bridges. We need more access to and from major centres, and that's just for starters.

Bill Ferguson, Kelowna

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