Efforts continue to see long-term improvements on Colleymount Road.
Colleymount residents had a chance to voice their concerns directly to Carl Lutz, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s district manager, last week.
“That was the first time he attended one of these meetings,” said Eileen Benedict, director of Electoral Area E for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN). “It was good for him to hear firsthand from residents.”
Lutz heard concerns and answered questions coming from the approximately 60 residents that attended the meeting.
Benedict opened up the meeting by saying that Colleymount residents would like to see the priorities that they identified last year addressed.
These priorities include a sharp corner between the 46 and 48 kilometre, which residents say makes it difficult for logging trucks to maneuver.
“A number of people have gone off that corner,” said Benedict. “The logging trucks cannot maneuver that corner and keep their vehicles on their side of the road; it’s just not possible.”
“It’s a huge safety concern for everyone that travels the road,” she continued. “Everybody thinks that corner should be addressed.”
“That was our whole question to him [Lutz] – “Where are we with these plans?”
Eileen said that although Lutz heard the concerns of residents, he did not present a plan to address these issues by 2017.
“He [Lutz] said they needed to look at it and see if it is cost-effective,” she said.
Another concern raised by residents was about maintenance. Residents said that when the logging season started earlier this year, Lakes District Maintenance (LDM) did not have enough chemicals for dust control on Colleymount Road.
“It was horrendous,” said Benedict.
Cori Funk, LDM’s regional operations manager, explained that the application of dust control on LDM’s network of gravel roads is based on road classifications, weather and availability of product.
“LDM applied a little over a million litres of calcium as dust control throughout the service area,” he said. “Colleymount Road receives on average approximately 142,000 litres of calcium, and in 2016 a second application was put on the worst sections of the road.”
Even though no long-term solutions were promised, Benedict said she thinks the meeting was a step in the right direction.
“I think Carl heard loud and clear what the community wants and I think the community got across some of their concerns about maintenance on the road and the issues between industry and residential traffic,” said Benedict.
Lutz told Lakes District News he also thought the meeting was productive.
“I believe everyone had ample opportunity to voice their ideas, thoughts and concerns. It was wonderful to see such passionate community members,” said Lutz. “We certainly appreciate getting feedback on our infrastructure.”
“Generally folks in attendance were appreciative of investments made over the last two construction seasons,” he added.
The next step will be for Lutz to hold a meeting – tentatively scheduled for Dec. 16 – with the ministry-led Colleymount Road users group, which is comprised of industry, RDBN, Lakes District Maintenance and a few local residents.
“At the meeting we will be reviewing work to date, discussing any current issues and looking ahead to next year,” said Lutz.
Benedict said she will also be attending the users group meeting.
“I’m looking forward to our users group meeting in December and hopefully we can hear from the ministry what their plans might be for the coming year.”