Any bypass taking traffic through the Valleyview silt bluffs where residents want to create natural parkland would be years in the offing, a ministry spokeswoman said Friday.
Kate Trotter with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the bypass as an alternative route on the east side of Kamloops was developed in the mid-1990s and is included in the City’s official community plan as a potential alignment.
However, the Trans-Canada Highway widening initiative, called Cache Creek to the Rockies in the 1990s, hasn’t seen any work undertaken by the province in more than a decade.
Any work would be years off because the ministry hasn’t purchased any rights of way, she said, adding the Valleyview corridor is generally considered safe and efficient.
The Valleyview Community Association approached Kamloops City council earlier this week to ask that the first steps be taken in getting the lands designated as park. If all the land mapped out is included, the park would span 1,000 hectares.
Some of the City-owned property is zoned open space, and there are also pieces of provincial Crown lands that the group wants either given to the City or also designated as park.
Association president Frances Vyse said she was given the impression by someone she spoke to that the bypass was at the bottom of the province’s road priority list and was likely to stay there.
“Someone told me the bypass was still number 15 and will always stay there. They have a prioritized list that’s always number 15. It’s only 15 projects long,” she said.
The land her group wants made into park is considered generally unfit for construction by the City because of its instability. It spans from just east of Rose Hill Road to Barnhartvale.
Vyse said there are two small pieces of Crown land that were designated UREP — Use, Recreation and Enjoyment of the Public — that are also included in the association’s park plan. She’s not sure if that designation still exists.
And there are a couple of pieces of private property, which might be a problem in some areas.
“What we would like them to do is work with Crown lands to transfer ownership to the City and create/expand that Valleyview Nature Park designation to go from Rose Hill Road to the Barnhartvale boundary,” she said.