The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MOTI) continues to try to find a balance between protecting bighorn sheep at Radium and protecting motorists, says Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal).
And the best solution, he says, remains an overpass for the sheep such as the ones along Highway 1 in Banff National Park. Those work for elk, Clovechok said. They would work for sheep.
A meeting was held between stakeholders on Feb. 2, and Clovechok said good progress was made.
Attending were representatives from Parks Canada, MOTI, RDEK and more.
“These were all senior officials,” Clovechok said. “Managers, even a deputy minister was on the call.”
He says MOTI has so far invested $250,000 on concept work on Radium Hill and further, have dedicated $1.5 million for an overpass.
“Although I haven’t seen that in the budget yet,” Clovechok said.
He says private fundraising to help fund an overpass is also ongoing, and he is planning to contact Kootenay Columbia MP Rob Morrison to ask about the potential of some federal money.
Unfortunately, in the meantime, sheep are still being hit by vehicles, but Clovechok does commend MOTI for the work they are doing.
“The MOTI people have been outstanding and I plan to mention that to the Minister at the same time I push the Ministry for more money.”
He reiterated his position that slowing traffic on the hill is not a solution. In fact, he says many of the vehicles who have hit sheep have been travelling under the speed limit.
“There’s no silver bullet, but more has been done in the past two years than the last 30.”
He continues to urge people to be very careful on Radium Hill.
The balance between sheep safety and motorists safety is definitely there, he says.
“The bylaw officer sat on the hill and he timed it. It took less than a minute for the sheep to be on the highway after the salt truck goes by. But you have to salt the road to protect people.”
The Ministry did try to put salt licks on the hill but it didn’t work, Clovechok says. The sheep seem to prefer the salt on the roadway.