Photo: Cindy White
Steve Forman points to the rock wall along Stockley Street that will be shaved away with a large jackhammer.
A Black Mountain resident is unhappy with the City of Kelowna’s response to health and safety concerns over plans to use a large jackhammer to remove part of a rock face across from her home.
Nicola Sinclair and her husband Steve Forman want the city to look at other options to solve visibility problems with an access road for a new housing development along Stockley Street.
Last week she contacted Castanet and expressed health and safety concerns over the noise that could result from the plan to use a large jackhammer to shave away a cliff to improve visibility for vehicles leaving the access road turning left.
Sinclair noted that the work could take nearly a month and decibel levels could exceed 130 decibels.
The couple also expressed concern about the risk of heavy machinery working high on a potentially unstable rock face.
“We were told that safety is the responsibility of WorkSafe BC, but it is my understanding that WorkSafe BC covers the safety of construction workers on a construction site and not the health and safety of local residents,” Sinclair said in an email to Castanet. . In fact, no one seems to be responsible for the safety of the residents. The city representative categorically stated that the safety of residents was not the responsibility of the city.”
On Tuesday there was a meeting between residents, the excavation company, the city, the engineering firms and Melcor. Sinclair says that unfortunately no WorkSafe BC representative was present and only half a dozen residents attended because the meeting took place in the early afternoon when many were at work.
“Honestly, what happened wasn’t a huge surprise as representatives were there to demonstrate that they had ‘listened’ to residents’ concerns, but had no intention of actually listening or doing anything to change plans to allay those concerns. The excavation company has said it will measure noise levels and experiment with noise reduction techniques, but without an independent verification of those measurements, we have to rely on the honesty and transparency of the company tasked with doing the work,” Sinclair said.
She and Forman urged the city to consider lowering the speed limit on Stockley St. from 50 km/h to 30 km/h.
They were disappointed with the response they received from the city representative, who she said putting up speed limit signs does nothing to slow down traffic. He also told them that the city cannot change the speed limit on a street unless residents make a formal request to do so.
According to the residents of Black Mountain, it is incomprehensible that lowering the speed limit has not been seriously considered as an alternative.
“It goes without saying that if we residents had known about this work and had we known that lowering the speed limit to 30 km/h would be a viable alternative, we would certainly have proposed a speed limit change,” notes Sinclair on.
“Because the safety of residents and public safety are our priorities, the obstructed left-sight line exiting the development should be shaved to improve visibility and prevent accidents,” said Mo Bayat, the city’s director of development services. . “As required, the developer’s team has obtained all necessary permits and they are required by the terms of the permits to ensure that the health and safety of the home and the public are adhered to according to best engineering practices, city bylaws, technical control measures and WorkSafe BC regulations.
Bayat says the developer has the right to develop the land within those safe practices. He added that, like any other construction site, this developer’s venture will cause some disruption to neighboring properties for a short period of time.
The pair said they only heard about the work a few days before it was originally set to begin.
Sinclair says it’s unfortunate that the city employees who are demanding this work be done by the contractor seem so stuck in their position that they don’t consider alternative options.
She told Castanet that barriers have begun to close off a lane of Stockley St. and that excavation work could begin Thursday.