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Williams Lake would go further if governments work together

Improvements to Highway 20 section would be a big win for recreation and transportation in lakecity
A crane lifts a new bridge into place Wednesday morning over Williams Creek as part of improved trail connectivity between the city and RC Cotton. The project was spearheaded by Williams Lake city council. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Anyone who has tried to walk or cycle along Highway 20 between Mackenzie Avenue and South Lakeside Drive likely has a story to tell.

Narrow shoulders covered in debris from industrial traffic, no sidewalks, and heavy traffic are just some of the dangers of trying to participate in active transportation from the downtown core to the west side of the city.

City councillor Joan Flaspohler is trying to change that script. She has been documenting the problem, pushing the government and, now her own colleagues, to bring on change to the stretch of highway ever since it was brought to her attention by Streets for All Williams Lake advocates.

Commending her for her efforts, lakecity resident Elkie Riener was compelled to take to the podium to congratulate Flaspohler during a recent Tuesday evening council meeting. She also brought up to council what she sees as a need for a second bridge connecting the west side of the city with the downtown. She reminded council of previous reports, and the 2017 experience of trying to evacuate the west side of the city during the wildfires and urged council to think big in terms of infrastructure into the future.

Flaspohler produced a solid report on the Highway 20 hazards, complete with photos which caught the eye of many showing the dangers. She put forward the report at the Nov.21 council meeting asking the city to draft and send a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure urging them to work together to make improvements to local Highway 20 infrastructure that align with safe, active transportation and Clean BC 2030 initiatives.

Her fellow council members in attendance supported her, suggested including the report and even added an amendment to forward the report to other levels of government, provincial, federal, First Nations and the regional district, to ask them to add their support. It would be a major win for the community and our area, were this barrier to recreational trail access and active transportation opportunities addressed. This is a great example of how we can get so much further working together.

- Williams Lake Tribune