by Dave Preston
A shift is in the works over how Peachland presents its stance on the future of Hwy. 97.
Peachland council will be asked Tuesday to approve a mission statement change for the Highway 97 Committee — one of two local committees concerned with where a four-lane highway would be built in the future.
The committee was formed in October, 2010 as a committee of council. The Highway 97 Task Force was formed years earlier by residents.
Initially the task force appeared to be solely in favor of a bypass highway around Peachland, but the group changed focus to exploring the benefits and disadvantages of that option and the option of four-laning the highway where it is today.
When the Highway 97 Committee was struck by council the group’s mission was, “To advise and advocate for any expansion of Hwy. 97
through Peachland to be done in a manner that will maintain and enhance the beauty, livability and economy of Peachland.”
Now council will be asked to change the committee’s mission statement to one that advocates that a bypass highway be built.
The proposed mission statement is, “To advocate the routing of Hwy. 97 bypassing Peachland and the conversion of the existing highway to a local road that will enhance the beauty, liveability and economy of Peachland.”
In a brief to council town staff notes the rationale for the change is that the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructures’s timeframe for substantive change to the highway is not known.
The brief goes on to say that, “as more change is made to the highway through Peachland, the less economic opportunity exists for the four-laning option.”
“The Highway 97 Committee and the Highway 97 Task Force see the opportunity to advocate more strongly for the by-pass option at this time, and to develop an economic model for Hwy. 97 through Peachland as a scenic tourist route,” states the brief.