Regional News: East Kootenay Highway maintenance petition presented in Victoria

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald presented a petition of nearly 1,000 signatures to the Legislature on Monday, May 4th.

Kevin Nimmock

kevin@invermerevalleyecho.com

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald presented a petition of nearly 1,000 signatures to the Legislature on Monday, May 4th.

The names on the petition represented people who are concerned about the state of maintenance on the highways of the East Kootenay. The petition was created through the Taking Back East Kootenay Highways Facebook group, which has 1,895 members.

“I took this opportunity to bring this issue to the attention of the Minister of Transportation Todd Stone,” Macdonald said.

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting is responsible for keeping highways safe to drive on. The Facebook group was created last year to call for the public sector to once again assume responsibility for highway maintenance.

Fraser Sinclair, a former snowplow driver for Mainroad Group and one of the founders of the Facebook group, said the company is simply unable to make East Kootenay roads safe.

“They do not have enough equipment on the road and they do not have enough people to operate their equipment,” Sinclair said. “When they first started here, they had the full compliment because that was what the government required, and I guess over time the government has laxed off or Mainroad has managed to skim down from what they required.”

Sinclair said the petition is a good start, but he was hoping it would be bigger. The petition was signed by less than half of the Facebook group’s members.

“We probably started too late in the winter,” Sinclair said. “I imagine this fall, once the snow flies, (the petition) will pick up again.”

Upon seeing the petition, Macdonald understood the importance of presenting it to the Legislature in Victoria.

“One of the biggest issues raised at my office is with the condition of roads and the lack of maintenance to ensure that we can travel safely throughout the area,” Macdonald said. “I have raised these issues with the Minister and his staff many times.”

In an effort to address complaints, Mainroad Group holds free pre-winter presentations in areas where it operates, including Invermere.

During a presentation in late November, a spokesperson explained to the crowd of 12 in Invermere that attention given to a road after snowfall depends on its classification (A, B, C, or D).

Highway 93/95 is classified as “B” while most of the roads in the Columbia Valley are “D.” This means that most of the roads are considered rural and are given the lowest priority after snowfall.

The Mainroad spokesperson said that many complaints come from drivers who have simply never seen the maintenance trucks.

Amid the tension between Mainroad and frustrated taxpayers, Macdonald said he is committed to continuing to pressure the provincial government to make changes to highway maintenance

policy.

“It is clear from this petition that people are fed up,” Macdonald said. “It’s time for the government to take real action to make our highways safe.”

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read