Pemberton council considers asking for a speed reduction along Highway 99 

VOP discusses reducing speed between the industrial park and the Plateau

click to enlarge JORDAN STURDY - Village of Pemberton council is considering asking the province to reduce the speed limit between the plateau and the industrial park to 60 km/h. Right now, that's only the recommended speed.
  • Jordan Sturdy
  • Village of Pemberton council is considering asking the province to reduce the speed limit between the plateau and the industrial park to 60 km/h. Right now, that's only the recommended speed.

Pemberton council is considering asking the province to reduce the speed limit between the industrial park and the plateau following two letters from concerned residents who say that the current speed limit is simply too high.

"I pose to you, as the council and mayor of Pemberton B.C., that we change the speed limit to 60 (kilometres an hour) instead of 80 (km/h)," wrote Leala Selina, in a letter to council.

The risk of a tragedy on the busy stretch of highway is increasing as the population grows, said Selina.

"Only a few years ago, members of my family had to bear witness to a most tragic event where two horses were severely injured from a head-on collision with a speeding car, their injuries were fatal, graphic and these animals suffered immensely before anyone was able to prevent them from suffering," she wrote.

"A car was totalled, a woman was injured and I believe this could have been prevented."

Selina's sentiment was echoed in a similar letter by Chris Brown, who wants the speed limit reduced between the industrial park and the plateau.

While ultimately, changing the speed limit is the prerogative of the province, the Village of Pemberton (VOP) can ask it to make changes.

Council is not unanimous on the whether to ask for the change.

"I tried to drive it at 60

(km/h), and 60 (km/h) is really slow," said Richman, during the June 25 VOP regular council meeting. "I don't think it's feasible. I personally feel that 60 is a little slow in that area."

Councillor Ted Craddock agreed, saying that Pemberton is already grappling with congestion issues.

"We've already got issues moving traffic, and we put the (Friendship Trail) in to hopefully get people off of the road," said Craddock. "To reduce (the speed limit) any more would be a real disadvantage to the travelling public; I couldn't support it."

Yet other councillors appeared open to changing it, citing concern for both wildlife and people.

"There are a lot of people still riding on the sides (of the road), said Coun. Ryan Zant. "I feel that 60 (km/h) or even 70 (km/h) would be better for the safety of people."

Coun. Amica Antonelli supported a reduction to 60 km/h.

"I think that after the plateau—between there and the industrial park—there are lots of driveways and animals and cyclists," she said.

"I think, in reality, people are going through there at 90 km/h. And if we want people to drive 70, then we need to put it at 60."

Coun. Leah Noble added that pulling out of driveways along that section of highway can be difficult.

"I'm usually pulling a trailer and traffic (comes) fast," said Noble, who works as a landscaper and farmer. "It's hard to (get) out."

In the end, council opted to inquire about what has already been advocated for, directing staff to reach out to local MLA Jordan Sturdy.

In an interview with Pique, Sturdy said that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) recently completed a speed review from Nairn Falls Provincial Park to Mount Currie.

It determined that there was no justification for a reduced speed limit along the section of highway in question, he said.

"Their conclusion was that they didn't feel it was justified to reduce the speed limit and that the accident statistics didn't support it," said Sturdy.

After some advocacy, Sturdy said that MOTI did agree to get rid of a passing lane between Harrow Road and Clover Road, said Sturdy.

"The village is certainly welcome to make that request (to reduce the speed), and I would certainly be willing to look at it," said Sturdy.

Richman said he is open to exploring if a reduction to 60 km/h is appropriate.

"I'm open to looking at it because two of our residents are requesting that we do so," he said, noting that the opening of the Friendship Trail will be a big help in keeping people off of the road.

The project was held up after a dispute with landowners on the north end of the Lillooet River Bridge forced the VOP to redesign the off ramp for the Friendship Trail Bridge.

Workers will get to work on the new off ramp in about a week, with construction set to last a few weeks, said Richman.

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