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North Okanagan neighbourhood begs for police presence on dangerous road

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June 02, 2015 - 7:31 PM

ARMSTRONG - After seeing police action taken on a stretch of road known for having a problem with speeders, people in other North Okanagan neighbourhoods are lining up for the same treatment.

Mounties conducted a road check on Otter Lake Road May 19 after residents expressed concerns about people speeding to police and city council, and it appears that neighbourhood isn’t the only one hoping for a visit from the RCMP.

Jennifer Dougherty lives in the 4400 block of Salmon River Road in Armstrong, where the posted limit is 70 kilometres per hour, and she says not enough is being done to curb speeding on her road.

“The road is very unsafe. I can’t even risk walking to the mailbox with my daughter,” she says. “Logging truck drivers go by at 3 a.m. and her baby monitor comes on because it’s so loud. We’ve had pictures fall off the wall, and we’re not even that close to the road.”

She’s lived in the area for seven years, but says the problem got worse when the road was repaved last year. The noise is one thing, but safety is her biggest concern. She says at least two dogs and three cats that she knows of have been hit by cars on the road and killed.

“Something needs to be done now to avoid any future incidents,” she says. “What if the dogs that were hit was a child who ran onto the road? When you’re speeding, you don’t have time to react.”

Dougherty says she phoned the regional district and the RCMP multiple times to complain about the speeders, but so far she says there’s been little enforcement, and no active patrols that she’s seen. A mobile digital speed reader was moved onto the road for two days, but she says that’s not enough and residents are getting fed up. 

“Enough is enough. We’re ready to sell and put our house on the market,” Dougherty says. “I really feel like when I read the story about how actively involved the community was getting with Otter Lake Road that we’ve been put on the back burner…. That doesn’t make me feel very safe in my own community.”

She’s not the only one to express concerns about speeding. In Vernon, Coun. Dalvir Nahal took an opportunity at a recent meeting to ask acting RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara how police choose where to conduct enforcement against speeding, and if 15 Street could get some attention.

“I myself almost got side swiped there and I know a lot of elderly people cross to go to the temple or the park,” she says.

The answer is that police choose locations in a few different ways. Sometimes, it’s based on crash data and enforcement will be concentrated in areas where there’s been a high number of accidents. Another way is through data collected in speed reader boards. The equipment records the speed of drivers passing by and if police observe a high number of speeders, they may focus resources there. Police also deploy resources on a complaint basis, which is what happened on Otter Lake Road.

“In order to police effectively, we need to hear from the public,” RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says. “If you have a concern and you let the detachment know, we’ll do out best to address that concern.”

That being said, the RCMP doesn’t have infinite resources and Molendyk says officers can’t be at 'every spot people would like to see a policeman.'

“We have miles and miles of road and we cannot be on every road every day,” he says.

Instead, Molendyk admits police tend to focus resources on busier roads where officers can reach closer to 100 drivers, versus only a handful on a back road. But, if people are becoming complacent on rural roads, and starting to think they won’t run into a cop, enforcement will be stepped up, Molendyk says.

“At any given time, on any given road, you could be ticketed,” he says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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