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Road initiative driving concerns

The Best Western Vernon Lodge says it is losing ten rooms a night, which translates as over $1,000, because people are driving past the hotel.
November 26, 2013 - 10:59 AM


VERNON - The construction of a median on Highway 97 in Vernon is not only blocking left turns, it’s also blocking business, says a city councillor.

Coun. Mary Jo O’Keefe brought up concerns over a new median in front of the Best Western Vernon Lodge at a council meeting Monday. The construction of the median is part of a Ministry of Transportation initiative to keep traffic on major corridors moving as efficiently as possible. This means left hand turns are restricted to main intersections only. The Ministry’s long-term plan includes a median down the bulk of Highway 97 through the City of Vernon.

The initiative is having some unforeseen impacts on local businesses. O’Keefe says the Vernon Lodge is losing $1,000 a day in walk-in business because people are missing the turn-off.

“We should allow signage or have our own signage that says to people ‘if your destination is the Best Western Vernon Lodge you need to turn at this intersection.’ It’s before they actually see the lodge,” O’Keefe said.

By the time northbound drivers spot the Lodge, they can’t turn left for some time. In another couple of blocks, they reach competing hotels.

O’Keefe wants council to adopt a policy that would allow signage to be installed on the highway informing people where to turn for businesses they might otherwise pass by. It would involve amending the city’s signage bylaw, which keeps tabs on “signage clutter”, as well as cooperation with the Ministry.

“I think we can certainly accommodate (businesses) without causing any signage clutter,” O’Keefe said.

“To me, it would only be in instances that you’re seeking a business that is not in the sight-lines and you need to make a physical change in order to access (it).”

Meanwhile, staff are waiting to hear back from the Ministry about the addition of a left-turn signal at 39th Avenue, which will lead to the new visitor information centre. Coun. Bob Spiers has expressed concern over the location, stating it is difficult to access from Highway 97.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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