A community meeting hosted by Carol Schaffer, Thompson-Nicola Regional District director for Wells Gray Country (Area A) at Birch Island Community Park on Monday, May 16, covered several of the same issues discussed during a similar meeting in Upper Clearwater the following evening.
These included Kinder Morgan’s plan to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline and where they are at in their process.
If the project is approved, $37,500 will go to Birch Island for improvements, to be decided by residents.
The proposed Wells Gray Geopark was discussed, with a brief explanation of what it is and what point we are at in process.
Also explained was why Telus will do no expansion of service because of “free riders” (other cell providers who use Telus infrastructure but don’t have to invest in infrastructure).
A request from Birch Island residents from last year that the community get its own postal code needs a community champion, Schaffer said. If someone wants to spearhead it, they were asked to get a hold of the TNRD director.
Several improvements designated for Highway 5 in the near future were discussed. Number of local issues identified as well. These included culverts by Birch Island store and Norris Road, bridge approaches, signage in the rest area at the top of Birch Island hill (no fires allowed at the rest area as it is not set up for it), signage to be moved that is blocking view when you pull out on to highway, cutting of grass along the roadways, and danger trees along highways.
Residents pointed out that where the old highway comes back onto new highway (just south of Wadlegger’s mill), the brush to the south of the intersection blocks the sightline and whether you can see oncoming traffic from the south.
A survey will be sent out regarding train whistle cessation at the Birch Island crossing. The responses received will determine the next steps. Approximately $8,000 is being spent to do the required study.
There were13 people in attendance at the Birch Island meeting.