Ideas come and go. Some turn into something; others gather dust, waiting for another day.
For your contemplation on a long weekend, here are some of the things (in no particular order) that seemed like a good idea at the time, but never became reality.
1. The Valleyview Bypass — I’m referring to the one that would have carved a swath through the side hills below Juniper. In 2001 the provincial government saw it not only as the “inevitable” answer to a local traffic problem, but as an economic keystone in the faster movement of trucked goods between Alberta and the Lower Mainland. Expected price tag $60 million. Opponents cited everything from the destruction of rare lichens to noise, convincing provincial politicians to shelve it. Next time you get stuck at one of those highway frontage road snarl-ups in Valleyview, curse the lichens.
2. Sun Peaks Road – The idea of building a new road from Chase to the Sun Peaks resort gained traction after the 2003 wildfires as part of a plan to get the regional economy back on track. The regional district, Kamloops City council and MLAs were onside, but Barriere residents couldn’t see the benefit to their community and neither could First Nations across whose land the road would be built. Hoped-for federal funding didn’t materialize and the $18-million project stalled out (although it might revive with a lightening of environmental-review rules).
3. Inland Port — construct a container-shipping facility to make the transfer of goods more efficient, rather than expanding the Delta port terminal. Getting the corporate and government players together proved a major challenge. A proposal for such a facility in Ashcroft seems to be gaining steam or, at least, hanging in. But the idea of an inland port — also called an intermodal facility — in Kamloops isn’t totally off the books.
4. A new City Hall — Let’s face it, Kamloops needs one and, sooner or later, council will have to bite the bullet. City services are spread out all over the place; the current cubby hole on the corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue isn’t much to be proud of. A committee worked on a plan in 2005 to locate potential properties and develop a multi-year strategy to build up a fund for future construction. It was dropped when a new council came in the following year.
5. Bridges old and new — Whatever happened to the Singh Street crossing, you ask? Still there on the engineers’ to-do list but not until the city hits the magic population level of 120,000. Also on the list is the Sixth Avenue extension, which would cross the South Thompson near the historic Red Bridge and connect traffic across the tracks and onto Sixth Avenue downtown. Then there’s the question of what to do with those old bridge pillars beside the Overlanders Bridge. They’ve been an eyesore since the new bridge was opened four decades ago. One idea was to tear them down but they’re sturdy. In 2001, one of the Rotary clubs briefly looked at raising funds to commission statues for the top of the piers. Constructing a pedestrian crossing on them has also been broached from time to time.