Pelmewash-Oyama Road intersection called critical to talks on highway devolution

Lake Country says Ministry of Transport did not consult with them prior to changing four-way into two-way stop on Pelmewash

With negotiations to hand over control of Pelmewash Parkway from the provincial government to the District of Lake Country still underway, one intersection on the parkway continues to be a problem, according to a district councillor.

Owen Dickie says when Ministry of Transportation opted to turn the intersection of Pelmewash and Oyama Road from a four-way stop into a two-way stop with through traffic on Pelmewash, it had a significant and negative effect on the ward of Oyama.

“The difficulty with this intersection is this is right in the middle of our community (Oyama),” said Dickie. “The majority of kids who go to Oyama Traditional School live on the opposite side of Pelmewash. It’s really unsafe. You have young people trying to cross four lanes of traffic. The community is being divided again.”

Dickie says he’s troubled with the way the government has communicated with the district on the issue. In correspondence with the ministry, Dickie was told that the government consulted with the district before making the decision. But he says that doesn’t appear to be true.

“They say they want to listen to the public but it was quite obvious they didn’t,” said Dickie. “This is the beginning of a recipe for disaster.”

In an e-mail to Dickie about the issue, Lake Country administrator Alberto De Feo says the district was not consulted before the decision was made.

“Our council was not consulted and I was not made privy to their (Ministry of Transportation) decision…until after the fact and members of the public contacted my office,” wrote De Feo, who said he has sent a letter to the ministry expressing his concern. “The council was made aware of the change after the fact and passed a resolution (last month) that the district request that the subject intersection be configured back as it was before the change. We offered and continue to offer to pay for the cost of reversing the intersection to the original configuration.”

De Feo also wrote that Lake Country and the Ministry of Highways have worked well on numerous different projects, including the devolution of Pelmewash Parkway to district control, but he says the the issue at Pelmewash and Oyama Road is a critical one.

“We believe this to be a different issue than the devolution of the asset to the district and we see this as critical to move along negotiations on the devolution,” wrote De Feo. “We will continue to negotiate in good faith on the devolution of Pelmewash Parkway but the solution to this particular issue will be pivotal to a rapid and positive conclusion of our negotiations.”