December 11, 2013 - 9:32 AM
"IT'S SO BAD PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO CALL IT THE BROKE-ANAGAN
OLIVER - Several businesses are alleging financial injury from sewer and water line installations meant to make the Gallagher Lake area more developer friendly.
Scot Hutchinson, owner of Route 97 Motorcycle and Sales, said his business has been crippled by the the installation of new underground lines along his frontage. He was even told by the construction crew before work began earlier this year to move the motorcycles parked in the front of his business somewhere else.
For several months getting in and out of his place was very difficult. Hutchinson said it basically shut him down. Several other Gallagher Lake operations, including Pine Bluff Motel, on Highway 97 complained about poor access and hotel room cancellations. Those owners and Hutchinson met Monday morning.
"All the businesses took a bad hit from the construction," Hutchinson said. "Pretty much closed all the businesses down with no notification."
He said the Pine Bluff Motel owner lost all her October bookings during one of the busier times of the year.
Then there was the physical damage from construction vehicles. A packer road vehicle meant to smooth rough surfaces has ruffled several business owners who claim the machine's vibrations cracked their foundations and damaged a pool.
"It's so bad people are starting to call it the Broke-anagan," he said.
Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen director Allan Patton looks after the Oliver area. He said the frontage road is the province's responsibility. Patton said once the sewer and water lines are installed that system becomes the district's responsibility.
Construction crews worked as fast as possible to minimize the impact on businesses. Patton is sympathetic with the owners and supported them getting responses from the province. He also invited them to work with the regional district when it examines its official community plan for the Oliver area next year.
Patton also argued some people are happy with the installation. Having ready-made sewer and water hook-ups will make the area friendlier for future developers.
"Businesses are thrilled to see those lines go in," Patton said. He feels the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
There will be another meeting open to the public and government officials about this issue at the Ye Old Welcome Inn on Monday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013